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The zero-waste home

See how a family manages to produce only two handfuls of trash per year

Johnson family; Zero-waste home
Thomas J. Story

Meet the Johnsons

On trash day in Mill Valley, California, the Johnson home has no garbage. Nothing. There is a hefty compost bin and a teeny recycling bin—one that Béa Johnson is embarrassed exists at all. “So much recycling really goes to waste, so you need to try to reduce that too.”

Garbage, though, is something that happens rarely in this modern, minimalistically decorated house. That’s by day-to-day intention—to live simpler and lighter on the planet. Their quest started three years ago when Béa and husband Scott downsized from a 3,000-square-foot home to their current 1,400 square feet. But it had been on Béa’s mind ever since she’d nannied for a family that lost everything in a fire. Béa decided she wanted to truly love and use and know everything she kept in her home. “Even down to the vegetable peeler,” she says.

Béa documents her zero-waste lifestyle in her blog, The Zero Waste Home.

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