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The zero-waste home

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

Dining room; Zero-waste home
Thomas J. Story

Less is more

“When we started getting rid of things, it was kind of addictive,” she continues. “In a recession, people are inclined to keep things, but I feel the opposite. The less I have, the richer I feel. Stuff weighs you down.”

Even life memories and heirlooms. Béa says, “Photos are a good way to keep the memory of something without keeping it because of emotional attachment or the guilt of letting it go.” Put another way: Hang onto the photo of your grandmother in her fur coat, but if you never wear the coat, it’s just taking up space in your closet.

Scott and Béa still have “vices.” Makeup has been hard to purge for Béa, and English muffins for Scott—both come with some nonrecyclable packaging.

“We don’t do everything right,” she says. “We do have garbage. We do fly overseas to see my family in France once a year.” Despite the regressions, the way the family lives makes others at least sit up and take notice: Béa says one neighbor visited, remarking that the house is “futuristic and alien-like,” opening cupboards and asking, “Where’s all your stuff?”

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