029: How the Zero Waste Queen started her journey with Bea Johnson

Bea Johnson

In this episode, we talk to Bea Johnson. She is the global Zero-Waste Lifestyle originator, her book Zero Waste Home has been translated into over 20 languages and she also consults large corporations like IKEA and countries to address their waste issues. 

During this episode, we take a look at how her journey started to now where her family of four only create a jar of trash a year and that also inspired a global waste-reducing movement following her 5 R’s. She also shares with us her tips for a capsule wardrobe and how we can shop zero-waste at our local store. 

Episode Highlights

[01:14] How did your sustainable journey start?

[03:19] With the manufacturing practices in place it is not possible today to be completely eliminate everything, but you can get pretty darn close it. Today our family of four produces just one jar of trash per year.

[04:04] In the book I describe the methodology of 5R’s.

[04:15] We found very quickly that people put too much emphasis on the 3rd R, Recycle.

[05:37] This lifestyle is not a competition, it is a journey. So it is obviously not overnight that we were able to reduce our trash to a jar per year and I do not expect anyone to be able to do it overnight. It is a question to find what works for you and what doesn’t.

[08:31] The best thing that the zero waste lifestyle has to offer to you is actually a life that is based on being instead of having.

[10:30] About Bulk finder web-based app.

[12:49] Bea’s advice to start you off on a zero waste journey?

[13:30] It is very important to learn to say no on the spot.

[18:30] Bea’s 15 piece wardrobe.

Final Five

1.What is one social media platform that you follow?


2.What is your hope for mama earth going forward?

 It is a society that is based on being instead of having. 

3.What advise can you give our crazy birds this week to help out mama earth?

 Learn to say no. 

4.What is one sustainability fact that you like to use in a room with people not yet on a sustainability journey?

 People only use 20% of their wardrobe. 

5.Where can people find you?





Key Take Away

“Learn to say no. “

The first R that Bea has in the 5R’s is Refuse. It might not be something that comes easily to do but its something that can help us so much to avoid us to bring in any unnecessary items in our houses that find their way into the trash. Therefore one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of trash you make is to not create them and by not taking the items in the first place. You do not have to sound rude when you say no, you might be able to work on a sentence that works for you and with that sentence you might even be able to create some sort of curiosity that can lead into people being more aware.


About the author, Mariska

Hi and welcome! My name is Mariska. I am originally from South Africa, but now call the world my home. I am an artist, designer, environmentalist, podcast host and speaker.

I started the Mama Earth Talk podcast in 2018 to share some of the things that I learned about just how easy it can be to reduce your impact on the environment. This then quickly grew into a forum that showcases the amazing things that many people are doing to make the planet better, and further into a source of hope and inspiration for many. A few of the amazing guests include Zero Waste Queen, Bea Johnson, Claude Silver, Kathryn Kellogg and zero waste chef Max La Manna.

If you do not already I urge you to follow me and my journey on social media (@designbymariska), and to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot your own waste using the handy tips I post!


  1. Trevor on 04/05/2019 at 8:27 PM

    Thanks to the great guide

  2. Rosaline on 04/14/2019 at 12:06 AM

    This is really useful, thanks.

  3. post on 04/15/2019 at 4:38 AM

    Thank you for the terrific post

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