Zero Waste Tip: Practice the Five Rs

Bea Johnson Zero Waste Home

Story and reporting by Ally Otto. Photo credit John Need.

As many of you know, we will be hosting Bea Johnson at Shedd Aquarium on April 16th for a presentation on zero waste living. Bea is the author of Zero Waste Home and has become one of the most influential leaders in zero waste living since establishing these habits in 2008.

Her methods for producing less waste can be broken down into what she calls the Five Rs. The Five Rs go beyond reducing, reusing, and recycling to truly deal with materials in a more holistic, thoughtful way. Check out the Five Rs listed below along with a few examples of how they can be implemented in your everyday life:

REFUSE what you don't need. Don't accept giveaways such as CD's, pens and pamphlets. Take a picture of someone's business card if you'd like to keep in touch!

REDUCE what you do need. Replace disposable menstrual products with silicone menstrual cups or cloth pads. Try making products from scratch that can serve multiple purposes such as homemade balm which can be applied to your nails, lips, hair, etc.

REUSE what you consume. You could reuse water you originally used to clean your salad greens to water your house plants or open your oven when you finish baking to help warm your home.

RECYCLE what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse. Purchase tablets, like pain relievers, in a recyclable glass or plastic container instead of tablets that are individually wrapped.

ROT (meaning compost) the rest. Dispose of pet / human hair as well as nail clippings in your compost. 

You can keep up to date on Bea's event schedule, her blog, and locate bulk shops around the world via her website

We're looking forward to seeing many of you at Bea's presentation on April 16! Though the event is currently sold out, please feel free to join the waitlist for a chance to attend.