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List Of Must Read Books On Sustainability environmentalist on a bench reading a book on the social impacts of climate change

List of Must Read Books on Sustainability

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These are a few of the books on sustainability I read when starting my journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. Many focus on reducing our waste, especially reducing our dependency on plastics and other single-use items. I will add to this list as I find new great reads. Be sure to check your local library or secondhand shop before purchasing these books new!

1. Plastic Free – How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry

My mom bought me “Plastic Free” as a Christmas present when I first started learning about zero waste. While recovering from surgery, Beth Terry stumbled across a photo of a dead albatross with a stomach filled with plastic.

That image inspired her to begin a journey of reducing her own waste and educating and encouraging others to do the same. “Plastic Free” is filled with personal stories, interviews with other environmentalists, and resources to help you kick the plastic habit.

2. Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Many regard Bea Johnson as the founder of the zero waste movement. Her family of four (plus a dog) only create a small mason jar full of trash per year. She was once like most of us: big American house, closets filled with clothes, and thought bigger was better.

After downsizing, she realized how living a minimalist lifestyle meant not only a more relaxed and enjoyable life with her family but also saved lots of money. In her book, she walks you through each space in the home and provides tip lists, recipes, and resources to help reduce waste and simplify your life.

3. Garbology by Edward Humes

“Garbology” looks at our “love affair” with trash. The average American generates 102 tons of trash in their lifetime, but where does all that trash go? Edward Humes visits landfills and interviews people at various stages of the waste stream to find out.

He also looks at solutions to our love affair and even interviews Bea Johnson. The book covers topics like the history of waste management, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and plastic bag bans to educate readers on how their waste never truly goes away.

4. Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff by Fred Pearce

“Confessions of an Eco-Sinner” is an investigative book spurred by Pearce’s desire to know where all of his belongings came from. From his wedding ring to his clothing and food, Pearce travels around the world to discover the origins of many everyday items and materials. In doing so, he learns the problems both workers and the environment face to produce all that stuff.


What books have you read on sustainability, zero waste, or the environment? Leave a comment below! I’d love to read something new!

List Of Must Read Books On Sustainability environmentalist on a bench reading a book on the social impacts of climate change
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List Of Must Follow Low And Zero Wasters woman searches online to discover zero waste blogs promoting a sustainable lifestyle

List of Must Follow Low And Zero Wasters

Zero waste is a community, and I would be remiss if I didn’t give shout outs to my favorite fellow environmentalists and zero wasters who helped me learn to live more sustainably. Whether you prefer reading blogs and books, watching YouTube videos, or scrolling Instagram, these ladies have you covered!

1. Going Zero Waste – Kathryn Kellogg

Kathryn started living zero waste after a cancer scare and realizing she should question the items she is putting in and on her body. She is probably the most influential zero waster online currently, and her blog is full of amazing articles on every aspect of sustainable living. I love that she posts “Good News Friday” pictures of environmental news headlines on her Instagram every week to keep her followers updated on policy and world events in addition to personal zero waste living.

2. Zero Waste Home – Bea Johnson

Known as the founder of the zero waste movement, Bea Johnson has been living nearly waste free for over a decade! Her family of four and their dog generate less than a mason jar of landfill waste every year. Her book Zero Waste Home has been translated into over 25 languages. Check out her website for a bulk store locator or her Instagram for great zero waste inspiration!

3. Shelbizleee – Shelbi

Shelbi lives in Austin, Texas, and has a great YouTube channel focused on eco-friendly living. She even does a bit of dumpster diving to save items from going to landfill. I love her video series on trying to shop zero waste at “normal” grocery stores. Check out her channel, blog, and Insta!

4. Living Waste Free – Samantha White

Samantha White used to live in New Hampshire and then Australia, but now she lives in New Zealand. She is so real in her videos and doesn’t try to look like she’s perfectly zero waste or always makes the right choices. I love that because sometimes zero waste looks like you have to be a perfect mason jar trash carrier to be “good enough”, but that’s so not the case. Check out her awesome YouTube channel for a ton of great videos!

5. Sustainably Vegan – Immy Lucas

Immy lives in England and her videos are so calming and refreshing. She started the Low Impact Movement in 2018 to combat the idea that “zero waste” means you have to be zero. She didn’t like the guilt associated with not being perfect and recognizes everyone’s situations vary and some people have more opportunities than others. See what she’s all about on her YouTube channel and her Instagram!

6. Gittemary Johansen

Gittemary is a Danish zero waster who started her journey in 2015. She has a YouTube channel, a blog, and an Instagram. Her videos are always really fun to watch and upbeat. I love all her vegan food posts, and she’s even written a vegan recipe book. She really inspired me to start thrifting for my clothing and furniture.

7. My Plastic Free Life – Beth Terry

Beth’s book “Plastic Free” was the first book I read about zero waste living. What I love that she pushed to make the book itself is as plastic free as possible. It has a paper cover, no hard spine, and is bound with string. Her book is really inspiring and that’s why it’s top on my List of Must-Read Books on Sustainability. She started plastic free living in 2007 after seeing a photo of a dead albatross with a stomach full of plastic and knowing she had to do something about it. Check out her blog My Plastic Free Life and find yourself a copy of her book (check your library first!).

8. Litterless – Celia

Celia’s photos are to die for! They are so minimalist and clean. Her blog also has resources for finding grocery stores, places to compost, and where to shop online for bulk goods. After taking 2019 off to travel the world and start grad school, she has decided to stop writing blog posts, but her archives are full of great information.


Which zero wasters do you follow? Do you like blogs, videos, or Insta-pics the most? Tell me in the comments!

List Of Must Follow Low And Zero Wasters woman searches online to discover zero waste blogs promoting a sustainable lifestyle
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List of Must Watch Eco-Documentaries littered plastic water bottle floating in the ocean that will harm sea life as it degrades

List of Must Watch Eco-Documentaries


I have compiled a list of some of the eco-documentaries I watched when I was new to low waste living. Watching documentaries is an easy (read: lazy) way to get educated about our environment. I chose a variety of documentaries to cover a wide range of environmental topics including: pollution, animal agriculture, fast fashion, food waste, and climate change. I will update this list every now and again when I find something new I think is worth sharing with you all!

1. Garbage Island

Vice produced “Garbage Island” to find out what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is really all about. This garbage patch is the North Pacific Gyre, a large rotating ocean current where much of our litter gets collected into a plastic soup. The Vice crew sails out to the garbage patch with Charles Moore, the discover of the garbage patch, and a chemist studying the effects and extent of the pollution to see the gyre for themselves.

This documentary was very eye-opening about the reach of human carelessness and the extent of the trouble we have caused. It is available on Vice’s website or on YouTube.

2. Cowspiracy

“Cowspiracy” is an eco-documentary about animal agriculture and its effects on the environment. It follows filmmaker Kip Andersen as he investigates why organizations are resistant to discussing animal agriculture as a main driver of climate change and pollution. It is well-documented that animal agriculture contributes to deforestation, water consumption, and habitat loss. But even environmental organizations are hesitant to call it out.

As someone who cuts out meat and animal products for environmental reasons, I believe this documentary is a very good tool to educate others to go vegan for reasons beyond animal rights issues. You can watch “Cowspiracy” on Netflix.

3. Forks Over Knives

In contrast to “Cowspiracy”, “Forks Over Knives” looks beyond the issues of animal agriculture to discuss how animal products in our diet affect our health. This documentary focuses on the work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. These doctors prescribe diet changes instead of bottles of pills to patients with diseases like diabetes and heart disease. In many cases, patients reduced their dependence on medications just by eating healthy, plant-based foods.

This documentary convinced my husband to reduce his red meat consumption and ultimately led to him giving it up entirely except on very rare occasions. “Forks Over Knives” is also available on Netflix.

4. The True Cost

“The True Cost” takes a look at the garment industry and the rise of “fast fashion”. Fast Fashion is the trend of cheap clothing (in quality and price) to be worn only a handful of times before being tossed. This documentary goes inside the garment factories and follows the stories of workers to expose unsafe and abusive conditions and jobs that pay very little. Watch now on their website!

This documentary convinced me to buy secondhand or ethically for as much of my wardrobe as possible. Find out more reasons to thrift shop here!

5. Blue Planet 2

David Attenborough, a prolific environmentalist, produced and narrated “Blue Planet 2”. Each episode focuses on a single area of the world’s oceans and contains a strong message about the human impact on those locations. The episodes are fascinatingly educational, and who doesn’t love David Attenborough’s voice? This series, available on Netflix, brought climate change and ocean pollution education into many homes that otherwise may not have known about our impact.

I have always loved nature shows, but this one is definitely the top for making sure the ending message of the episodes is about human impacts on our oceans.

6. Global Waste: The Scandal of Food Waste

“Global Waste” addresses the growing but sometimes invisible problem of food waste around the world. Our food waste problem extends way farther back than most people think. Before food waste ends up in household trashes, grocery stores and even suppliers toss tons and tons into the trash. It is on Netflix in French, but that’s what subtitles are for!

This documentary was so shocking because we think about the waste in our kitchens and maybe even the waste from the grocery store, but how often do we think about waste at the producer level?


I’m always looking for a good documentary to watch. Do you have any recommendations? Any thoughts after watching these? Let me know!

List of Must Watch Eco-Documentaries littered plastic water bottle floating in the ocean that will harm sea life as it degrades
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