January Money Diet Day 25 – Reduce Your Landfill Contribution


Canned pears at Happy Simple Living blog

Reusable glass Kerr canning jars | Photo by GoodNCrazy

A couple years ago I read the most inspiring article in Sunset Magazine, about the Johnson family in Mill Valley, California. The Johnsons have pared down their possessions and live a wonderfully simple life. The family members are so careful about not consuming wasteful packaging, they generate almost zero garbage.

The Johnsons are big on composting, and this is one way we try to reduce waste. I just love the idea of reusing the kitchen scraps in a way that benefits the garden and keeps stuff out of landfill.

What about recycling? Homeowner Béa Johnson says, “So much recycling really goes to waste, so you need to try to reduce that, too.” They are diligent about taking reusable containers to the store for food and eliminating junk mail, and their tidy pantry and closets would inspire anyone to minimize and simplify!

How much trash does your family generate in an average week? If you coaxed everyone in the household to get on board, could you reduce it by 50 or 75 per cent? Or 80 or 90 per cent? We’re down to about half a can per week, but the recycling bin is full every two weeks when it gets picked up — so we have a long way to go. The Johnsons have motivated me to try harder to reduce our recycling and trash. If they can do it, why can’t we?

For more inspiration, you might enjoy the Johnson family’s blog, The Zero Waste Home.

Today’s Homework Assignment: Try to reduce your family’s waste to zero this week, and let us know how it goes.

We have just one more week to go in the January Money Diet? Have you been able to reduce your spending this month? Has it been easy or tough? Inquiring minds want to know…


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About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

January Money Diet Day 25 – Reduce Your Landfill Contribution

  • Julia

    I’ve been reading Bea’s blog for a while now and have been inspired as well. We have drastically reduced the amount of trash we generate each week. We compost, recycle, refuse and we share our meat scraps with our dogs and neighborhood feral cat colony.

  • Lois, I’ve enjoyed reading on your blog about your amazingly low amount of trash, and you always inspire me. Readers, check out the “Saved From Landfills” section of Lois’s blog Living Simply Free, and be amazed:



  • Zero waste is a big goal of mine. I have a waste basket (only one in my home) that is about a foot and a half tall. I have not emptied this since Christmas eve and it’s not quite half full. I would have less if I could control what comes into my home from guests. My goal is to have no waste or recyclables generated from my home, it really is hard to achieve.

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