Review: Year of No Garbage by Eve O. Schaub

☆☆➹⁀☆ 4.5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

In this book, Eve O. Schaub, humorist and stunt memoirist extraordinaire, tackles her most difficult challenge to date: garbage. Convincing her husband and two daughters to go along with her, Schaub attempts the seemingly impossible: living in the modern world without creating any trash at all—for an entire year and, as it turns out, during a pandemic. In the process, Schaub learns some startling things: that modern recycling is broken and single-stream recycling is a lie, that flushable wipes aren’t flushable and compostables aren’t compostable, and that plastic drives climate change, fosters racism, and is poisoning the environment and our bodies at alarming rates, as microplastics are being found everywhere, from the top of Mount Everest to the placenta of unborn babies. If you’ve ever thought twice about that plastic straw in your drink, you’re gonna wanna read this book.



Guest Reviewer Frannie’s Thoughts:

The “Year of No Garbage” is an in-depth story of Eve Schaub, a woman who engages her family in  an arduous experiment of eliminating trash from their lives.  The family had struggled with other experiments that Eve proposed such as giving up sugar for one year and then cluttering for another year.  But this exercise introduced a whole new look at our contemporary society and its throwaway culture.  It was more than any of them anticipated, and it opened Pandora’s box.     

The book engaged me from the very beginning with startling facts such as:  “The great Pacific Garbage Patch is now twice the size of Texas” and “Ocean garbage patches take up more surface area on the earth than land.”  As she and her family implement the zero waste endeavor, they uncover copious amounts of lies and half truths about recycling and landfills.     

The brilliance behind her writing is being able to convey this disturbing information in a humorous way that is relatable and, although disturbing, palatable.  She is able to redirect her frustration with a sense of hope and grace that allowed me to take a careful look at my wasteful habits.  The year-long journey starts with a total overhaul of their household, its eating habits and use of disposable items.   She started making changes on every level from incorporating compostable toothbrushes and toothpaste tablets to making her own cleaning products.  They reduced their waste by eliminating paper towels, collecting wine corks for craft projects, and composting all food scraps.  She offers many other helpful suggestions too.    

Her research on plastics was the most troubling.  The fact that they last forever and never really go away was distressing.  Another upsetting fact is that plastic cannot be broken down, so the plastics break up into microplastics.  These microplastics are so small that we inhale them and eat them in our food.  They have been found in our blood, lungs, liver, breast milk and the placenta of unborn babies. In fact, 94% of plastics end up in a landfill, the incinerator, or our oceans.  The health ramifications of all the plastic that is discarded is unknown, but, it is certain that our culture’s addiction to plastics is negatively affecting our everyday lives. 

It is alarming how much garbage people produce every day,  and Eve advocates education and the need for all of us to become ecologically self-aware.  Her advice is to do the very best we can do and continue to learn about conservational efforts.  At the end of the book, she lists numerous environmental films and books that are easily accessible. There is a lot we can do.  

The book was amazing and incredibly enlightening in terms of the number of ways I was not incorporating the concept of Zero Waste into my life.  It is not an easy read and often resembles a textbook; however, it is a must read for anyone who feels they are at all environmentally conscious.   

If you’re interested in more information, check out this video:

About the Author: Eve O. Schaub is an internationally recognized author and humorist who enjoys performing experiments on and with her family.  She uses their experiences as fodder for her books.  She is the author of Year of No Sugar (2014) and Year of No Clutter (2017).  Schaub has also written for publications such as Hyperallergic, VTDigger, Vermont Life, Vermont Magazine, Everyday Health, and the Boston Globe online.  In addition she works with her husband Steve to produce short films and artwork under the name EveNSteve. 

Schaub holds a BA and BFA from Cornell University and an MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology. 

You can find Eve at: Instagram: @eveoschaub | Facebook: @eve.schaub | Twitter: @eveschaub | Website:

© Copyright 2023 Book Junkie Reviews. All rights reserved.

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