Cover Image: The (Almost) Zero-Waste Guide

The (Almost) Zero-Waste Guide

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Melanie Mannarino’s new book The (Almost) Zero Waste Guide is an easy-to-read listicle of 118 actionable suggestions for reducing your impact on the planet. This is a topic I’ve cared about for a long time, and while many of the tips are common sense, it’s helpful to have a collated resource to refer to. I found the chapter on clothing waste to be particularly surprisingly and thought provoking.

While we all can’t fit our garbage into a mason jar like some serious no-waste bloggers on the internet, even a handful of intentional steps and decisions can make a difference. 

Many thanks to Netgalley and Tiller Press for the digital advanced reader’s copy.
Was this review helpful?
There's a hefty promise in the title of this book.  Can we really reduce our waste without changing our lives?  Most ambitiously, can we achieve (Almost) Zero Waste without changing our lives?  Melanie Mannarino helpfully asks and seeks the answers to questions about resource usage and material wastage.  Her summarizations suggest that the answers aren't straightforward and often the goal of reducing wastage will require choosing between the lesser of two evils.

As someone with a pre-existing interest in preserving the environment, reading this book provided quite an esteem boost when I recognized many of my everyday habits featured as good advice in this book.  This shouldn't be a stretch for most people: we're talking about taking the stairs instead of elevator, energy-saving appliances and renos, saving your leftovers, recycling and composting, donating used clothing, bringing reusable bags to go grocery shopping, and buying electric vehicles.  In some jurisdictions (like my home province of British Columbia), government and commercial incentives have already made most of these items commonplace and de rigueur.

With 118 tips to choose from anyone should be able to pick up some additional ideas.  I would recommend bookmarking them as you read along, to keep track of them.  It's easy to say to yourself "Oh, that's good!  I could do that!" and then lose track of them as you move along.  There are other recommendations that I would find more difficult to actualize but Mannarino offers this conciliatory opinion from her only quotable expert, Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), "The world isn't going to end because you bought one bottle of water when you were thirsty.  Understand where you can do stuff, and forgive yourself for everything else."

One of the strengths of this book is its simplicity, practicality, and accessibility.  However, some of the tips come across as overly obvious regurgitation of widely available educational propangada:
Don't cook too much food if you are going to waste it, but also cook more food so you don't have to cook as often. 
Don't leave the water running while washing dishes.
Variations of the theme of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Other tips are so basic that they were annoying:
Let yourself go gray.  Embracing your natural hair colour will save a car trip to the salon, and the ingredients of the hair dye, and even the little plastic tray that the dye is mixed in.
Thank you, Captain Obvious!

Who is this author? Her other book credits are The Best Gender-Neutral Baby Name Book and Epic Baby Names for Girls.  She's a Marie Claire editor who prides herself for "repurposing leftovers like a pro."  Overall, this book is helpful and will probably inspire a lot of positive action.  Be warned.  That action will require changes in your life.  The parts of this guide that read like Jane Average's social media blog undermine the impact of all the EPA, Department of Energy, and NRDC research that this "award-winning" journalist laboured to put into writing.  It's well-meaning and really feels as if you are receiving neighbourly advice.
Was this review helpful?
Loves this practical, resourced, feel-good book! I consider myself pretty aware of repurposing and recycling yet learned so much in this  book! I appreciated the can-don writing and the simple instructions for getting started with little changes that make a difference in our world. I highlighted the heck out of my electronic copy and am excited to put so many of these calls-to-action into practice. Will share with my family and friends. Bravo!
Was this review helpful?
This is the most realistically titled eco-friendly book I have ever come across, and I have read many. I appreciate that Melanie Mannarino states upfront that being completely zero waste is practically impossible given today's current manufacturing state. Her suggestions are easy to do, easy to fit into your lifestyle. Many of them you probably do already and don't even think about the fact that they are minimizing your waste output into the world. I would absolutely buy this for anyone wanting to begin their journey towards lowering their carbon footprint on the world.
Was this review helpful?
There was nothing mind blowingly new in this book. Most people should know the good majority of these things will help the environment, but it is nice to have all of the ideas in one space and if there do happen to be some people out there that have been living under a rock and don't know the basics of  eing less wasteful this is definitely a great book for them to start with.
Was this review helpful?
This is a very basic guide to transitioning to a lower- waste lifestyle. Many of the tips were repetitive. I think many people who want to become zero waste have already begun with these sorts of tips. 

Also, there was more than one fat-phobic comment in this book, which I found to be in very poor taste.
Was this review helpful?
The (Almost) Zero-Waste Guide was full of practical eco-friendly swaps. The author provided simple ways anyone could use things they already have around their house to reduce their carbon footprint. I was surprised by how many I was already incorporating in my own lifestyle but the book still gave me ideas of where I could improve! This is a great book for anyone who has an interest in living a more sustainable lifestyle but isn’t sure where to start. It’s a book I’ll keep around for reference. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC!
Was this review helpful?
Mannarino gives a lot of great advice on how to lower your waste in daily life. She also provides various examples that are extremely practical that I had never heard before. Did you know that you can use boiling water to kill weeds? If you are looking for ways to reduce your impact on the planet this book will provide you with a blueprint.
Was this review helpful?
This book is a great beginner's guide to embarking on the low or zero-waste movement. It includes actionable tips, but also suggestions about how to re-frame how we conceive of waste and reusing items. I think highlighting that perspective shift is important for all of us trying to become more environmentally conscious. Some may seem harder to implement (i.e. bringing your own takeout containers to a restaurant) and some much easier (switching to loose-leaf tea instead of tea bags, but I think the variety of ideas is crucial to making this accessible.
Was this review helpful?
This book is very helpful in offering suggestions for ways to reduce waste. It touches upon a variety of things that I didn't consider. I am trying to be more green and limit my waste production so this book was very useful. It was more than just a list of things to do it gave reasons why and had science to back up some of their claims. I will find myself using it on a day to day basis!
Was this review helpful?
The (Almost) Zero Waste Guide by Melanie Mannarino offers practical and logical solutions for reducing individual waste. Mannarino explains reducing waste in such a realistic way by acknowledging that zero waste is just not realistic for most - but it doesn't have to be all or nothing. we can all reduce waste by adopting simple habits and something is certainly better than nothing. i know that after reading this book, i recognised several areas in my daily life that i can improve upon and reduce waste. definitely recommend this!
Was this review helpful?
While this book covers a lot of different ways you can limit waste, the layout isn't all that fantastic. I think they could have organized each idea a bit better. These ideas are great for anyone starting the Zero Waste lifestyle or for those looking for tips to minimize waste in a few areas.
Was this review helpful?
This has a lot of good ideas and living a zero waste life can be a lot of work. But there are a lot of things that are easy to do that can have a lot of impact. There's a lot of common sense here (including really obvious stuff), but it covers a lot of ground, and includes approaches everyone should use. It's a little tricky, but it would have been helpful to get some recommended products/companies (e.g. multiple companies offer 100% recycled toilet paper, Eco-friendly {fill-in the blank] products, etc). Recommended.

Thanks very much for the ARC for review!!
Was this review helpful?
I had a really hard time getting into this book. I have tried to find a way to at least eliminate the amount of waste we produce as a family, and while reading this I did learn some tips but felt that much of it was just things that I already knew. It was well laid out though.
Was this review helpful?
I like the format of the book and how the author divided the areas into clear categories (cooking, at home, personal care etc). I read it and only felt slightly guilty about my lifestyle. Yes I need to get rid of plastic shampoo bottles, sandwich bags and paper napkins. Overall there isn't much new information in this book (for me anyhow).. The author summarizes a variety of sources in one easy to read place. Would recommend if you are new to recycling or the zero waste lifestyle. 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster, the author and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
A lot of good ideas, backed up by statistics and verifiable facts, covering areas including food, home, travel and more. Easy to read and inspiring.
Was this review helpful?
A good grouping of categories and the tips in them. Many tips you have likely seen elsewhere but author's own explanation of them. Nice book and some tips you may overlook.
Was this review helpful?
I am reading the version available 1/5/211, but there are several editions already available. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I have already read many books on climatology/global warning and reducing the carbon footprint. Funny with mostly world-wide quarantine with coronavirus, air pollution is already reducing and water ways are cleaner. This needs to continue to be an ongoing effort to prolong the planet from unleashing apocalyptic conditions in future generations.

This book had some fantastic advice like using your own mason jars and boxes at the grocery to reduce plastic use. This I will definitely do. I already used cruelty free products for the last ten years and have started composting again, not easy to do in southern California. There are several good tips for beginners to do also. A very useful to start reducing and reusing. Definitely buying a print copy when it is available.
Was this review helpful?
Zero Waste has gained popularity in the last few years. While it has become a trend, often it can be overwhelming and the need to be perfect kicks in. This is the book for the person who wants to try and become more sustainable and eco friendly without going crazy.
Was this review helpful?
Wow. Just wow. It was a lot to digest. The book has great ideas in theory, but it would be impossible for the average person to follow the guide to “almost” no waste. It did have some interesting takes on how to lessen your footprint and make it a little lighter. Not a fan.
Was this review helpful?