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Vietnamese should shun delivery services: author

Sunday, July 14, 2019, 21:52 GMT+7
Vietnamese should shun delivery services: author
Bea Johnson holds a reusable fabric bag she often uses so as not to resort to plastic ones. Photo: Mi Ly / Tuoi Tre

A French woman who spreads zero-waste lifestyle has advised Vietnamese against using booming delivery services to save the environment at her book-introduction session in Ho Chi Minh City this week.

Bea Johnson is a French woman living in the U.S. and the author of Zero Waste Home published in 2013, which has been translated into 20 different languages so far.

The author met with other environment enthusiasts on Friday in an event to promote the Vietnamese translation of her book.  

The book is a guide giving readers instructions on how to lead a zero-waste lifestyle both in a family and society, while in the book Johnson also shares how her family used to be deemed stupid and stubborn for being determined to cut down on waste in every aspect of their lives.

Little did the critics know her family would soon become a pioneer in adopting a zero-waste lifestyle.

At the book-introduction session in Ho Chi Minh City, the author answered questions from her Vietnamese readers, most of which were about suggestions on how to change their lifestyle.

With delivery services at affordable prices and quick deliveries mushrooming in Vietnam, many participants in the session questioned how these could be replaced and how to reduce waste when using such services.

Johnson, however, believed that most people are only making excuses to rely on the convenience provided by the delivery services which may seem crucial for the busy.

“You can, but you chose not to,” Johnson told her audience.

“We always have a choice. You can swing by a store after work. You can go to a restaurant instead of having your food delivered home,” she added, pointing out that life is mainly about making choices.

The author admitted she also struggles with making delivery services more environmentally friendly like when she purchases second-hand goods from eBay, she always requires the delivering party not to use plastic bags or tape during packaging and only use reusable materials.

However, many Vietnamese are still drawn into the convenience and promotions online shopping platforms provide, especially people living in the bigger cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Moreover, the hustle of shopping including going from one store to another and then bringing all the goods home is removed when the new form of shopping takes shape, which makes turning one’s back on this service a difficult task not many are willing to do.

At her book introduction, she only shared a few tips on how to turn from a life full of waste to that with zero waste.

Bea Johnson holds a jar containing her family's year-worth of waste. Photo: Zero Waste Home

Bea Johnson holds a jar containing her family's waste thrown out in one year. Photo: Zero Waste Home

Another positive thing is that the number of families leading a zero-waste lifestyle is increasing across the world, even in Vietnam there have been campaigns and businesses refusing to package certain products as well as places where buyers could bring their own bottles and containers when purchasing goods.

In Johnson’s book, which is published in Vietnam by Thai Ha Books and Cong Thuong Publishing Houses, the author shares all of her experience in how to lead a zero-waste lifestyle including substituting toothpaste with baking soda and using organic soap for all parts of the body, among others.

Even though Johnson is proud of her family’s achievements, she warned her readers that her book should only be a guide that needs to be adjusted for each family rather than a holy book to live by.

For her, this lifestyle is rewarding not only because her family can now cut expenses on unnecessary stuff, but also because her teenage sons no longer find happiness in meaningless materialistic goods.

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