The Best Zero Waste Books – Top 6 – 2023

Introduction – Zero Waste Books

Navigating the world of zero waste can seem daunting, but with the right resources, it becomes much more accessible. Learning about the philosophy and practices behind zero waste can boost your confidence while planning your eco-friendly journey. Books happen to be an excellent source for such an endeavor. 

Books are great for yourself or as gifts

Here we review 4 categories and 6 books in total.

A Comprehensive Guide to Zero Waste Books

Zero waste books offer an array of sustainable living instructions, covering from beginner to advanced level. They serve as guides for individuals, educators, and students with an earnest desire for a cleaner, healthier planet. One such recommended book is “Zero Waste Home” by Bea Johnson. 

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

This book offers a unique and often extreme approach to decluttering and waste reduction. We find value in Johnson’s approach, praising it for going beyond the typical “reduce, reuse, recycle” advice by adding refusing and composting as integral parts of waste reduction.

There are numerous useful tips for decluttering and avoiding the creation of additional clutter, although some of the practices suggested by Johnson, like using kitchen towels for sandwich bags and cloth bags for all produce, may be considered too extreme for most people.

Yet, even without embracing all of these practices, the book still provides valuable resources for improving one’s relationship with their possessions and their impact on the environment. We champion the idea of approaching the book with an open mind and not expecting to adopt every single recommendation all at once.

We advocate for the book’s philosophy of responsibility and conscious consumption. The author’s emphasis is not on achieving zero waste per se, but rather on being mindful of our habits and making adjustments where possible. The book has the potential to offer new perspectives and tools to those looking to simplify their lives, reduce their waste, and declutter their homes.

Zero Waste Books for the Beginner

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg

An excellent resource for anyone aiming to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Catering to both beginners and experienced recyclers, the book offers practical, actionable tips to reduce waste. Kellogg’s non-judgmental and encouraging approach makes the transition towards a low waste lifestyle feel achievable, even underscoring the importance of small but meaningful changes.

Readers have commended the book’s impact on their daily habits and its significant role in helping them reduce their waste. Kellogg’s suggestions, though simple, have proven effective and easy to incorporate into everyday routines. “101 Ways to Go Zero Waste” serves as a must-read guide, emphasizing the power of individual actions in environmental conservation and our responsibility towards fostering a healthier, more sustainable planet.

The Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time by Paul Connett Ph.D.

This book is a comprehensive resource that offers insights into waste resource management worldwide, with a focus on achieving zero waste communities.

Serving as an enlightening read for both students and individuals interested in sustainability, the book provides a thorough overview of waste management solutions across the globe. Connett’s writing style is both enjoyable and accessible, and his message is deemed vital, especially for island communities where waste management is crucial.

While lauded for building enthusiasm for zero waste and offering intriguing anecdotes, some readers believe that the book could provide more detailed information on how community planners and waste businesses can practically achieve zero waste.

Nevertheless, Connett’s fervor for the subject shines through, making his speeches a must-see experience. His book is highly recommended for anyone seeking to understand and participate in the sustainability movement, especially in the realm of waste reduction.

Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash by Shia Su

This is an accessible guide aiming to empower readers in their journey towards zero waste. Praised for its straightforward tips and advice, the book makes it easy for novices to grasp and adopt the key principles of waste reduction.

However, we found some readers have criticized the book for promoting certain agendas unrelated to zero waste, like consuming organic produce, and suggesting practices that might seem extreme for some. Other areas of improvement include providing more detailed explanations on making homemade products, and offering a more balanced discussion on ingredient sustainability.

An allergenic concern was raised about the use of soy-based ink in printing, suggesting the need for a hypoallergenic alternative in future editions. Despite these critiques, the book can still be a helpful resource for those beginning their zero-waste journey.

The Role of Zero Waste Books in Carbon Reduction and Sustainability

The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

This book provides a deep dive into the culture of overconsumption and its consequences on the environment and society. The book’s depth of research and its bold critique of the American way of life have been appreciated by many readers, who found it both thought-provoking and a harsh mirror of the real world.

Despite its substantial focus on the negative aspects of consumerism, the book does not shy away from offering hope, emphasizing that consumer pressure, public outcry, and innovation could force changes towards more sustainable practices.

However, some readers were less captivated, feeling that the book could have benefited from greater depth in fewer examples and pointing out the need for more contemporary discourse. The book’s abundant citations were seen by some as overwhelming and potentially lacking nuance.

Notwithstanding these criticisms, Leonard’s work is seen as a critical call to action, encouraging readers not only to recycle and reduce waste but also to engage in larger issues like holding corporate polluters accountable. This book might not be for everyone, but it certainly sparks a necessary conversation about our relationship with material possessions and the impact on our planet.

Zero Waste Books for Academic Purposes

Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

This work is widely recognized for its transformative and revolutionary approach to product design and disposal. The book’s message emphasizes the importance of a shift from a “cradle-to-grave” to a “cradle-to-cradle” design philosophy, effectively eliminating the concept of waste and fostering a more sustainable future.

We like the tangible experience of holding the physical book, which embodies the authors’ commitment to their principles, and lauded the book’s impactful critique of the prevalent “reduce, reuse, recycle” mindset.

The book is also viewable as a manifesto for a movement that seeks to harmonize environmental stewardship with economic growth and technological advancement. While the book acknowledges the seriousness of the current environmental crisis, it offers an optimistic path forward through enlightened design.

This combination of environmental critique and hopeful outlook appears to be both enlightening and empowering, prompting readers to reconsider their views on design, waste, and environmental preservation.


Books on zero waste open up the door to understanding and embracing a more sustainable lifestyle. These resources provide the knowledge and motivation to make small, but significant changes that collectively have a profound impact on our planet. So, pick up a book today and start your journey towards a greener future.

Staff Writer
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