Zero Waste? Try these Items to Move Towards it

Free yourself of plastic and benefit financially

Cat Strav


After reading “Zero Waste Home” by Bea Johnson I was amazed and impressed by her family’s ability to fit all of their waste from one year in a pint-size container.

In contrast, the average American generates 4.9 pounds of solid waste everyday.

What could I do to move in that direction? What can you do today?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

— Margaret Mead

I started by making these changes in my life then, gifted my grown children these three things:

  1. A reusable shopping bag — years before it became a legislative issue, I kept a stash in my car. As gifts, I try to find bags that would appeal to the recipient.
  2. A water bottle- They favor the Nalgene brand, but I carry a metal one.
  3. A bar of soap — liquid soaps require 5 times the energy to create than a bar of soap. (One son became a true believer in this soap, giving up Old Spice body wash.)

Since 2017, I have not bought plastic bags, tissues, paper napkins or plastic wrap. (Tissues during Covid was the exception.) Instead I replaced them with these items:

  • jars
  • cloth napkins
  • handkerchiefs
A typical lunch for the author, red beets, dal and a salad, from her own photo collection.

Jar life

I admit, it feels counter-intuitive, but for me, making the financial commitment to these canning jars pushed me to use them. I have used this “system” since 2017 and I find it keeps me disciplined.



Cat Strav

Yogi. Wordsmith. Hutch Pup. Diagnosed with I.O. (idiotic optimism) since an early age.