Review: Anita Vandyke – A Zero Waste Family in Thirty Days

A Zero Waste Family in Thirty Days
Anita Vandyke

“As parents we are constantly juggling the needs of children, work, chores and money. This book is not designed to add to the guilt that we already feel. It’s about showing how, by applying zero waste and minimalist principles, being an eco-parent doesn’t have to be difficult, and that by making small changes as a family we can make a big difference to our world for our children and future generations.”

This nugget of a book takes each element of family life and breaks it down into how you can change the way you think about waste. It is basically essential that you have children to be thought of as a ‘family’ here. I think this book is best aimed at families with young(er) children, although it does have some hints about waste for teenagers. I think that if you actually sat down and tried to turn into a zero waste family in only 30 days, you’re going to feel overwhelmed by it all, despite Anita’s book being “gentle”.

It’s hard not to be intimidated by Anita’s qualifications – she’s literally a rocket scientist (read: engineer) and medical doctor (read: GP). It’s enlightening then that someone so smart could struggle with waste too, and that might be the thing that gets some people into thinking about waste. I think that being zero waste is very hard to do in the current climate, particularly if you are someone who relies on life-saving medications (like me!). We should all be aiming for minimal waste, and this book is going to give some suggestions that might be new to all but the hardest hard-core zero wasters out there.

I’ve been marking Masters of Public Health essays on the impact of climate change on health. They’re all fascinating and thought-provoking so maybe I wasn’t reading this book in the right context. I mainly skimmed this book because I’d like to hope that I do many of these things already.

Are you feeling inspired to take on your waste? Or maybe you need a little more encouragement – you might look for a personal story in Our House is on Fire or more practical suggestions in Quitting Plastic. I also received What a Waste (DK) almost a year ago, but I can’t seem to find the review I did…

Anyway, plenty of quality reading out there, and if you’re hesitant to buy a real paper book (I just can’t give them up, personally), A Zero Waste Family is available in an ebook copy. I also did a bit of research into what the FSC logo next to the ISBN means – “the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo… [assures] that… it is made with, or contains, forest-based materials from FSC-certified forests or reclaimed sources.” The four largest UK book publishers, Hachette, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins and Pan Macmillan all hold FSC Chain of Custody certification.

This book is being released just in time for Christmas, and at $19.99 it’s going to fit right into a Kris-Kringle or Secret Santa present draw. I probably wouldn’t just hand it to any family member – they might think you are judging their waste habits. But if there’s someone who has expressed interest in the past (or even just takes a KeepCup with them for coffee), this could be a great gift to give.

Penguin Random House | 1st December 2020 | AU$19.99 | paperback

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