TLS #89: how to take big + small steps towards a zero waste lifestyle with Bea Johnson (zero waste home)


Today on TLS we’re exploring what is perhaps an unexpected slant on Mindfulness Month… we’re talking about trash! 

Bea Johnson, of Zero Waste Home, is the pioneer of the zero waste lifestyle community. Nine years ago, she and her family of four slowly and steadily worked their way towards accumulating just 1 liter of waste per year!

Did you notice that mason jar she’s holding in the photo above? That’s their yearly liter of trash(!!!).

Though we all may not decide to go “full” zero waste based on our circumstances and/or personal Values, Bea shares many big and small steps we can all take to reduce the amount of waste we generate everyday.

This episode is perfect for anyone looking to hear an inspiring story of a modern, urban family who switched from “having all the things” to “having all the experiences.” And it’s also great for anyone looking to learn about the big and small steps they can take to reduce their waste.








  • What inspired Bea and her family to get rid of 80% of their belongings and reduce their waste to one quart sized jar per year.
  • Bea’s take on what fashion truly is and why she believes that having more clothes does not necessarily mean you have more options.
  • How America materialism compares with that of France and how Bea has noticed the materialism changing in France over the last 20 years.
  • What Bea’s makeup essentials are and how she makes her own makeupfrom items found at the grocery store.
  • Why adopting the zero waste lifestyle has allowed her family to cut 40% on their overall spending.
  • How the zero waste lifestyle has been embraced all over the world in the last decade since Bea launched her blog and how the changes she has made have influenced her extended family.
  • Her experience with establishing a zero waste home while raising young children.
  • How Bea does her groceries without waste.
  • Bea shares her 5 R’s and how you can begin using them now to gradually decrease the waste in your home.
  • What kind of criticism Bea has received and why she thinks it’s a good thing.
  • What Bea would tell someone just starting out on this journey.




Zero Waste Home

Zero Waste Home Book

Catalog Choice

Opt Out Prescreen

DMA Choice

Squarespace Mini Interview:







This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. Teresa Bailey

    This episode was fantastic! The #1 person I was hoping you would have as a guest was Bea after I found her blog a few months back.

  2. Carrie Corrigan

    Love the new profile pic, Jess!

  3. Emily

    Jess, I just wanted to tell you how much I love your podcast! I look forward to it every week. Thanks for interviewing such inspiring people! Keep up the good work. 🙂

    1. Jess Lively

      Thank you so much, Emily, for taking the time out of your day to brighten mine. : )


  4. Jaclyn

    Hi Jess, I wanted to commend you on the new season. I love the diversity of topics you are covering, so refreshing!

  5. Kendra

    This is such an amazing episode, Jess! Bea’s interview really illustrated how deeply rooted she is in her values of simplicity and a healthy, good life for herself and her children. I appreciate that you chose her lifestyle to highlight an incredibly tangible way we can practice mindfulness – something that’s often talked about in the conceptual or in hard-to-measure behaviors. Loving this season!

    1. Jess Lively

      Exactly!! It’s such a tangible, “real” take on mindfulness, right? I’m glad it connected with you, too, Kendra. I hope you give a few of her suggestions a try that feel like a fit for you. : )


    1. Jess Lively

      Thank you so much for the sweet note! It’s wonderful to hear you enjoyed the questions and the interview. : )

  6. Emily Chilton

    I loved this episode! I just opted out to reduce my junkmail. That was definitely a helpful start for me! I found you from the Young House Love episode they posted on their blog and I’m enjoying catching up!

  7. I just read her book and thought she’d be a perfect guest for your podcast. I was happy to find out you had already interviewed her!!

  8. Keren Segal

    Hi Jess, what a great interview. You asked the most interesting questions!
    Thank you 🙂

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