An Almost Zero Waste Life: Learning How to Embrace Less to Live More by Megean Weldon

An Almost Zero Waste Life

Information

Goodreads: An Almost Zero Waste Life
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: 2020

Summary

Learn how to start taking steps towards a zero-waste lifestyle (meaning you send no garbage to landfills) through practical tips from Megean Weldon, the Zero Waste Nerd.

Star Divider

Review

Megean Weldon’s An Almost Zero Waste Life is a practical beginner’s guide for those seeking to reduce their plastic use, their carbon footprint, and their overall consumption. Organized into sections such as kitchen, bathroom, shopping and wardrobe, children and pets, housekeeping, and holidays, the book takes readers through a series of steps that encourage them to rethink their habits without shaming them for their lifestyles. The overall message is that it is important to think about our impact on the environment, but no one should feel guilty about not being perfect. Doing something for the environment is better than doing nothing. This upbeat attitude permeates the book, making readers feel like change is really possible.

The book begins with a brief overview of why reducing our consumption, especially of single use plastics, is so important. Most plastic, Weldon explains, never actually gets recycled and even the plastic that does has a limited lifespan before it ends up in the environment to break down into smaller and smaller pieces. The information is admittedly general, but Weldon probably assumes (reasonably) that the majority of people who pick up a book on going zero waste already know about the environmental crisis we’re facing–and want to do something about it. So this is not the book to learn more about the environmental nightmare that is plastic. It’s a how-to guide on taking personal responsibility for the environmental factors we have some control over.

Weldon takes a practical approach to going zero waste, noting that it is perfectly okay to finish using all the products you have in your house before going out to buy a bunch of fancy new zero waste and no plastic products. Part of reducing consumption is, after all, not simply tossing usable items we already own. She then goes on to encourage readers to rethink what they “need,” to downsize their lives, and then to begin thinking about ways to go plastic free.

The zero waste lifestyle is, Weldon admits, not necessarily easy for everyone. She acknowledges, for instance, that buying in bulk is not always cheaper. So she offers modified tips for various scenarios, noting that if you are not ready to go to your local grocery store with your own glass jar, you can at least consider buying products in paper packages rather than plastic. Weldon never shames readers for not living up to her ideal, but tries to give a way for everyone to participate in being a little greener.

A lot of the tips Weldon offers will likely be common sense to many. And, of course, readers could probably find the same information online: Stop using plastic shopping bags. Start carrying reusable produce bags. Skip the straw. Use bar soap and shampoo rather than products bottled in plastic. Cut up old cotton T-shirts for rags instead of buying paper towels. Consider composting. Still, it is handy to have all these tips organized in one place. And readers may also appreciate that Weldon adds her recipes for things like homemade deodorant, shampoo, and shaving cream (for those who want to try).

I think the greatest benefit the book offers is to make people rethink the products they buy. Much of what we consume (especially in the U.S.!) is avoidable. We don’t really need to buy as much as we do, and we certainly don’t need to buy as many disposable, one-use plastics as we do. The good news, Weldon notes, is that phasing out these things not only helps the environment, but also can save us money long term. And she is adamant that consumers should use their money to “vote” for green products over harmful ones.

An Almost Zero Waste Life is an excellent, inspirational guide to the zero waste lifestyle for beginners. It makes aspiring towards a zero waste lifestyle seem not only achievable, but also desirable. Some may see zero waste as just another internet trend. But, hopefully, books like this will make everyone start thinking a little more about their consumer practices.

4 stars

11 thoughts on “An Almost Zero Waste Life: Learning How to Embrace Less to Live More by Megean Weldon

  1. Annie Earnshaw says:

    Wow I’m so glad I read this review!! I’ve been exploring how I can reduce my consumption lately, but know that a fully zero-waste lifestyle is something I wouldn’t find fulfilling or possible. It sounds like her perspective on doing as much as you can is really approachable and great for making small changes that have a lasting impact. Adding this to my TBR right now!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I really like the the tone of the book is upbeat and positive. While I think it’s important for individuals to be more conscious about their consumption and waste, the reality is that large-scale change has to come from companies, who are usually producing far more waste and using far more energy than a single person. So it doesn’t seem quite reasonable to make individuals feel guilty about or personally responsible for the environment when their impact is less than that of the manufacturing factory down the street.

      The idea of just making small changes as an individual makes it all seem very manageable, and I think will inspire people more than making them feel guilty. I’ve been trying to put a few things in practice, like using reusable produce bags and switching to some bar soaps instead of bottles and it makes me feel good to know I’ve lessened my impact, even if I haven’t gone zero waste. If we all just lessened our impact a little, it would create a big change!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jenna @ Falling Letters says:

    I read a book that deals with a similar topic earlier this year, The Buy Nothing Project. (I didn’t realize it was a ‘thing’ until after I read the book.) It is nice that we have practical guides like this becoming more readily available to help readers make changes. Individual choices won’t exactly halt climate change but I think whatever you do to reduce your ‘environmental footprint’ is better than nothing!

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes! It drives me nuts when people dismiss any individual action with, “Well, it doesn’t matter because companies are the real culprit.” Sure, I myself can’t compete with the trash and pollution a company generates, but everything counts. And if EVERY individual did things like stopped using plastic bags or straws or whatever, of course that would make a difference!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Eustacia | Eustea Reads says:

    I like the fact that the book focuses on what you can do to be more environmentally friendly, rather that presenting just one way as THE way to do things.

    Just wondering, is the book very US-centric in its tips or do you think it’d be useful for people outside of the West?

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, same! A lot of advice can come across as judgmental, but it’s not really someone’s fault if they live in a city and can’t compost, or whatever.

      Maybe I’m not the best judge of US-centric reads since I am also probably US-centric without realizing it? However, (though I read this awhile ago), I remember the advice being rather general. It’s a lot of trying to replace single-use plastic items with other items. So reusable shopping bags and produce bags. Bar soaps instead of bottled. Homemade cleaning solutions you can use to refill your spray bottles instead of new ones. Bamboo fork and spoon you can bring to take-out restaurants. She even suggests bringing your own container to the restaurant (which I’m not sure most restaurants would accept in the US, since they don’t know how clean it is.)

      So I think a lot of the advice could apply to anyone wanting to use less plastic. Though it may be US-centric in the sense that the US tends to rely heavily on single-use plastics and there’s not much regulations, so she’s assuming that you already live this consumerist, plastic-heavy lifestyle. And she does mention things like going to bulk food stores or using compost pickup services, which may or may not exist where other people live. (They don’t even exist where I live.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I’m trying to read more on sustainable living and the environment in the coming year, as well. It’s an issue that’s important to me, so I think I should learn more!

      Like

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