Zero waste, zero point

I attended a talk by Bea Johnson on ‘Simplifying Your Life’ this week. Her family has completely changed their lifestyle, e.g.,

…if your hair is short, you also have the “no-poo” option: rinse your hair, massage baking soda in, then rinse, with vinegar for shine

to reduce to virtually nothing the amount of household waste they generate that ends up in landfill.


This got me thinking…


It seems that the UK produces roughly 250 kg of landfill waste per person per year. Corroborated here.

Assume this is compacted to a volume with a density half that of water.

There are 25m households in the UK, with an average of 2.4 persons each.

This source says 33 sq m per person (which sounds about right given the above):

Household floor space per capita

With a ceiling height of 3.3m, this is 100 cubic metres of space per person.Which,

allowing for lifetimes of 100 years, the entire landfill waste generated by a household would occupy around half of the volume of the house.

OK, I’m probably off by a factor of 2 here and there, but this doesn’t seem to me to be so big an issue to need to solve so drastically, especially given that the amount of surface area covered by housing in the UK is quite small anyway.