Use and Enjoy What You Have- Rebekah’s View on Things and Food
Rebekah Saltzman is a unique and inspiring female entrepreneur who started her own business based on her hobby for helping people take back control of their lives. She does so as a personal organizer with plenty of knowledge and experience in the field. She works hard and strategically to incorporate her passion for zero waste and sustainable living into her business goals and personal life. And to our greatest satisfaction, she is now one of the newest additions to the HomeBiogas family! She tells us she has been giddy with excitement at the thought of turning her family’s food waste into valuable cooking gas and organic fertilizer ever since she found us on Facebook — and we are so happy she did! Rebekah has agreed to share with us her story, which she hopes can inspire others to incorporate organization and waste reduction into their lives, for the sake of their happiness and the environment.
Rebekah grew up in Maryland and New York, where she earned a degree in fashion design, and eventually met her husband. They had three kids and adopted one adorable dog before moving as a family to their their current home in a city of Haifa, Israel. Personal organization was just a hobby that Rebekah had always enjoyed and was good at doing, until she read Bea Johnson’s book Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste. It was then that Rebekah realized, “We could have less stuff and still be happy. I also realized that what I was designing wasn’t good for the environment and that it came with a very high price tag for both the environment and the people who made the stuff.”
What Rebekah is referring to is the environmental and social impact of the purchases we make. Annie Leonard does a great job at explaining our dangerous patterns of overconsumption and the unseen consequences they have in her well-known, short documentary The Story of Stuff. In summary, consuming less is better for the environment because every item requires the use of natural resources, energy, transportation, and eventually space in a landfill. Rebekah believes that we have a responsibility to be stewards of the Earth and that doing so begins with oneself. When we reduce our desire to have more all the time, and think about our spending and consumption habits, we take better care of what we have and make better purchasing choices in the future.
Organize, Declutter and Use What You Have
Johnson’s book served as a major turning point in Rebekah’s life. Like a noble superhero, she vowed to only use her powers for good from then on out. So she quit her designing job and went out on her own to help people in the best way she knew how. As a personal organizer, Rebekah helps people downsize and declutter so they can lead their best lives. She has seen time and time again how adding order and tidiness to her clients’ homes and daily routines helps them live better. Seeing a job well done just fills her heart with much happiness and joy.
“I try to teach people that having less isn’t a bad thing. We don’t have to keep up with what our neighbors have in order to be happy, we just have to enjoy what we have. More possessions don’t make us happier, it makes us less happy, mostly because we end up working for our stuff, instead of our stuff working for us. We are always worried about cleaning, caring for, and protecting our stuff. But imagine if you didn’t have to worry about the stuff so much.”
Johnson’s writings are also what pushed Rebekah to strive for a zero waste lifestyle. The goal of zero waste is to significantly reduce or eliminate sending any trash to landfills or incinerators. Rebekah engrains the values and goals of zero waste into her organization business at every chance she gets because she cares about the environment and because the two just seem to go hand-in-hand. She says that decluttering and organizing is the first step one must take towards a zero waste lifestyle because it allows you to see what you have, reassess your shopping habits, and really change your consumption patterns.
So how does Rebekah incorporate organization and zero waste into her own home and lifestyle?
Rebekah will be the first to admit that she is nowhere near perfect, but she is proud to say that her family has been able to largely reduce their using a combination of reduction, recycling, and composting methods. As a family of 5, they went from about 8 to 10 bags of trash a week, to only 1 or 2! Rebekah immediately saw a positive impact on her family’s life once they started their zero waste journey. Besides having to take out the garbage less, they were spending less and needing to go out shopping for disposables (like paper towels, water bottles, and a variety of expensive cleaning supplies) less! Life became easier and her family felt happier.
Still, Rebekah faces obstacles when it comes to minimizing her and her family’s waste. Keeping kosher can sometimes complicate things and the limitations of backyard composting have also been a struggle. Like most cities, theirs does not offer municipal compost collection so they created a compost pile for food scraps in their backyard. Unfortunately, they still have to put cooked food and animal byproduct waste into the trash. This organic matter, which is incompatible with composting methods accounts for a fair amount of the 1 to 2 trash bags that her family produces each week. So when Rebekah found HomeBiogas on Facebook, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
The backyard appliance, which unlike compost piles, accepts all types of organic waste, not only provided her a way to reduce the amount of trash her family sends to the landfill, but also a seemingly endless supply of renewable cooking gas. With all the cooking that Rebekah’s family does, trading in food waste for cooking gas seemed like the perfect solution. They currently use gas balloons to power their stove but their HomeBiogas 2.0 appliance will now allow them to save money on gas bills, or even eliminate them! Rebekah has been encouraging her neighbors and friends to bring their food waste on over to her backyard.
As she admitted, she has been following HomeBiogas for a while now and really wanted to buy our first version, but the hefty price tag kept her from doing so. That is why she jumped at the release of HomeBiogas 2.0 which is selling on Indiegogo for less than half the price of version 1! Plus, she recognized that this investment would save her money in the long run because with HomeBiogas, you don’t have to pay for trash bags, trash service, or even cooking gas! Then you also have the added bonus of being able to use the second byproduct, liquid fertilizer, on your garden.
Rebekah believes that reducing your consumption and waste helps you be more organized and that HomeBiogas can help with the latter. She also believes that finding alternative sources of energy is very important because we don’t want to eliminate our supplies by using virgin fuel sources when we have plenty of garbage to go around!
“Companies like HomeBiogas that are creating this technology really deserve our support. They help us become better stewards of the earth.”
Rebekah heads two different online communities that anyone pursuing a life with less clutter or less waste is welcome to join. You can interact with her and others in the community about daily lifestyle tips, tricks, questions and more! The Facebook page Organizing in Israel – Balagan Be Gone is for those looking to get the help they need to live a better, clutter-free life and Zero Waste Israel is a home base for the growing zero waste movement in a small country that can make a big difference. Rebekah is also a teacher and author of an online course called Conquer Your Clutter, which you can find on her websites rebekahsaltzman.com and balaganbegone.com – she really does it all. She is an entrepreneur in the business world and now too in her neighborhood as the first to adopt biogas power! We here at HomeBiogas earnestly welcome your family into ours. Mazel tov!