Zero Waste: Getting in the Know

If you’re here, you’ve probably already set your mind to living a more sustainable life. Perhaps you want to run a zero waste home, perhaps you want to eliminate plastic completely from your life. Perhaps you want to eat less meat or take other steps to lower your environmental footprint. But it will take time, work, dedication and resilience, a lot of unlearning and rewiring in order to permanently change the habits that have been engrained into our minds and lives in today’s consumerist culture. One of the most important things that will stop you in your tracks when you’re reaching for that plastic water bottle or consuming animal products, is just knowing the full extent of the harm you are causing the planet. So, for our first zero waste article which is essentially about sustainable living, we wanted to put together a list of documentaries and books that inspired us in our journey. The media on sustainable living is endless and you can dig as deep as you want but this compact curation should provide you with a good round up.




Goodbye, Things - Fumio Sasaki

One of the pillars of zero waste living is avoiding excess. This essentially calls for a more streamlined living. In today’s world where you are mostly judged on your possessions, it will make you feel better to read about people who follow a minimal lifestyle and have been much happier for it. In that respect, “Goodbye, Things” by Fumio Sasaki would be a good starting point amongst the pool of literature on minimal living.


A Life Less Throwaway - Tara Button

Tara Button’s ‘A Life Less Throwaway’ will be one of the best books you’ll read on the subject of our current throw away culture. Having a background in advertising, Button explains things that we partially know or suspect, in a simple, informative and eye-opening manner backed with research and experience. Even though you know that products are no longer made to last and we are all suffering from the effects of consumer culture, you get a very clear picture on the cogs of the machine here and more importantly, how to resist and defy this corrupt system, resist the temptation of impulse buying and make long-lasting choices that prevent wasteful living.


Sustainable Home - Christine Liu

Christine Liu’s more simple and reader-friendly guide ‘Sustainable Home’ is a good introduction to running a zero-waste home which has plenty of useful tips, recipes on how to make your own things and products - like a charcoal water filter, that will help you run a zero waste home accompanied with beautiful photos.


Further reading


Zero Waste Home - Bea Johnson

One of the most definitive and comprehensive works on running a zero waste home. Get inspiration from Johnson’s life but don’t feel put down if using a menstrual cup is not for you!


The Life Changing Magic of Tidying - Marie Kondo

A modern classic for a reason, it works if you’re ready to declutter your home and don’t know where to start. There’s no way to live a sustainable life surrounded with ‘stuff’ you don’t need.


The Organized Home - Remodelista

A design conscious manual to tidying up your home with natural materials and clever storage solutions.


This is a Good Guide: For Sustainable Living - Marieke Eyskoot

It is indeed. If you need to read more on sustainable living...


Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal - Tristam Stuart

A brilliant book on food waste.




The True Cost

Clothing is one of the things that end up in our landfills the most. We own way, way more than we need and at what cost? ‘The True Cost’ answers exactly that and more in a highly disturbing account. This documentary will change you forever.



This is the documentary that made many of our friends take that final step into transitioning into a vegan. Cowspiracy lays bare how badly animal agriculture is affecting our planet and making sustainability an unattainable goal. It also exposes the reluctance of certain NGOs and governments in addressing this issue in the way it deserves.



Not one for the faint hearted, this documentary explores the effects of our wasteful consumerism and pollution in a very engaging manner and narrative by Jeremy Irons.


Some other titles to watch


Planet Earth

No introductions necessary really, a beautiful documentary narrated and presented by David Attenborough about the wonders of the natural world that surrounds us, showing what’s at stake.


Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story

A couple documenting their journey of eating only discarded food will leave you shocked at seeing how much food is wasted in the world today.


Forks Over Knives

Something to watch after Cowspiracy if you’d like to look at how plant-based living affects your health as well as the environment.


The Clean Bin Project

A documentary on zero waste living with a twist, a couple competes on who produces the least waste for a year, documenting their struggles along the way. A good alternative to ‘No Impact Man’.


Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

We tackled animal agriculture, we tackled waste, but we are yet to find a great documentary about minimalism. Until then, we’ll make do with this. Conveniently available to stream on Netflix, this slightly self-indulgent documentary following two dudes road tripping to spread the word on minimalist living, still has its moments.

You can also try an episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo or Consumed to get a glimpse of how unhappy ‘stuff’ actually makes people, bearing in mind that both productions come with their own shortcomings.

Written by: Sine Büyüka