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Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too Hardcover – June 15, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“The use of plastic is enmeshed in our American way of life. Kicking any habit is tough, but kicking a habit that is invisible in its ubiquity is even more difficult. In this important and enjoyable book, Beth Terry walks the reader through her trials and travails and shows what the average person can do to rid themselves of plastic. Along the way, she creatively demonstrates that ridding one’s life of plastic is not only good for the planet but also good for the health and the pocketbook of the American consumer. This book is inspirational and has helped me kick my plastic habit not only when shopping but throughout my daily life.” (Congressman Steve Cohen, Tennessee)

“Inspiring. Empowering. And most of all, liberating! Finally, here’s everything you need to know to live a healthy, safe, plastic-free life. Kudos to Beth Terry! She’s definitely my plastic-free guru!” (Diane MacEachern, author, Big Green Purse)

“We’re so addicted to plastic, it’s hard to imagine doing without it. But Beth Terry dared to imagine, and with hard work, humor and lots of trial and error—turns out there’s no easy way to make your own liquid hand soap—she broke the plastic habit. Her book is informative and inspirational—an ideal combination for anyone hoping to follow a less plastic path.” (Susan Freinkel, author Plastic: A Toxic Love Story)

“Tempted to bring your own reusable silverware to take-out joints but dread the eye-rolling it may generate? This book is for you. With sass and intelligence, the anti-plastic crusader Beth Terry guides readers toward the road less consumptive, offering practical advice and moral support while making a convincing case that individual actions to lighten our environmental impact do matter.” (Elizabeth Royte, author, Garbage Land and Bottlemania)

“This is the tool that we’ve all been waiting for to ease the transition to going plastic-free. Time to wake up. Peace.” (Rosanna Arquette, actor, Plastic Pollution Coalition member)

“I’ve been struggling to rid my home of plastics for years. This book makes it so much easier!” (Linda Ronstadt, musician, Plastic Pollution Coalition member)

“We could have such lovely things in our lives. Why do we settle for crap made from plastic? Beth Terry is the pioneer when it comes to building a life filled with the things that truly matter.” (Colin Beavan, author, No Impact Man, and founder of the No Impact Project)

“The problem or the solution starts with each one of us. We can choose to live a life of mindless consumption, becoming consumed by our possessions, or we can choose to live an inspired life, always working to create harmony with our environment. In Plastic-Free, Beth Terry shares the story of her path to a life filled with less plastic and more harmony. Anyone who reads this book will be motivated to follow her lead.” (Jack Johnson, musician, cofounder of the Ko¯kua Hawai’i Foundation)

Plastic-Free tells a story that could inspire everyday behavior change for all of us. Small steps, leading to one big milestone: a planet free of plastic pollution. The power lies with each of us to take these steps. It is that simple.” (Daniella Dimitrova Russo, cofounder and executive director, Plastic Pollution Coalition)

“Friendly, fun, and informative, Plastic-Free is a tutorial on how to cut plastics from your life. Beth empowers us to implement change in our own lives and save the world at the same time. Refuse disposable plastics!” (Dianna Cohen, visual artist, creative director and cofounder, Plastic Pollution Coalition)

“Beth Terry is one of the most inspiring people on the planet. Her wisdom about plastic-free living is a beacon of hope for what’s possible. Everyone should read this book!” (Stacy Malkan, cofounder, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of Not Just a Pretty Face)

“Beth is the most knowledgeable person on plastic, particularly disposable plastic, that I know. Her journey to getting rid of disposable plastic is inspiring and amazing, but she also makes it doable for the rest of us. When I first met her, I lived my life pretty nontoxic, but I still used a lot of disposable plastic. Her efforts inspired me to eliminate disposable plastic too, and faced with choices, I always ask myself WWBD (or What Would Beth Do)? She is the standard by which I measure my ‘greenness.” (Jennifer Taggart, www.thesmartmama.com, author of Smart Mama’s Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure)

From the Back Cover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (June 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616086246
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616086244
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 6.1 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Beth Terry is the author of the popular blog MyPlasticFreeLife.com. A founding member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Terry gives presentations on living plastic-free and why, despite what some critics assert, our personal changes do make a difference. She spearheaded the successful Take Back the Filter Brita recycling campaign in 2008, and her life and work have been profiled in Susan Freinkel's book, "Plastic: A Toxic Love Story," Captain Charles Moore's "Plastic Ocean," and the award-winning film "Bag It." When she's not out fighting plastic pollution, Terry spends her time with her husband and two rascally kitties in Oakland, CA.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought a copy of Plastic Free at a screening of the documentary Bag It. The documentary wasn't particularly compelling, but I enjoyed meeting Beth Terry of MyPlasticFreeLife, who answered questions about plastic in the same friendly, unassuming, and thoughtful way that characterizes her blog.
Plastic Free is pretty much what you would expect it to be: a guide to why plastics should be avoided and how to do it. Most of the information is practical, with lots of useful tips derived from personal experience, lists of actionable content, and interviews with activists. There are also some thoughtful meditations on burn-out and whether individual actions matter, funny anecdotes (my favorite involves red wine in a Kleen Kanteen -- an ingenious use for an opaque reusable bottle), and more.

I'll admit right now that I have exactly zero intention of gnawing on neem sticks for toothbrushes, and while I am deeply concerned about the environment, do not see plastic as the most pressing issue. I've already switched to reusable bags, water bottles, food storage, and bulk bins, but my life will never be plastic free -- and I'm OK with that. Regardless of where you are in your green journey, Beth Terry provides great tips and motivation to keep pushing yourself a little further.

Chapters cover subjects like plastic bags, disposable water bottles, grocery shopping, recycling, eating out, cleaning, and personal care. Some of it won't be new if you've already made the switch, some of it won't be relevant depending on your lifestyle (I skipped the entire section on diapers), but it's all quite readable and you're likely to learn something new or pick up a good tip. For me, the chapter on recycling plastics was particularly eye-opening.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't know how or when I first learned about Terry's endeavor in trying to get rid of plastic from her life. But one thing for sure, it turns out, we both cried when we saw the images of plastic debris filled dead albatross carcasses; she saw them on Algalita and I saw them on Chris Jordan's Midway: A Message from the Gyre. But unlike me, she set out to do something about it. She boldly decided to get rid of plastic from her life, while I 'try' but still struggle with the endeavor.

So it's no surprise that Terry wrote this book so people like you and me, can learn how to do it, without being overwhelmed. This book gives you easy tips to follow with brilliant and quick steps you can do, to get rid of plastic from your daily living. The message I got, and love, from Terry's book is that you don't have to be drastic, like her, to live plastic-free. She acknowledges that it can be hard but she teaches you how we can, by taking little steps to start. And the facts, the directory, exhaustive research she did and shared in the book give you enough information to start and to keep for reference. She did the leg work so we can take the guess work out of our plastic free journey.

I especially love how every footnote is referenced. I also love the "rent/borrow/share" directory with links, the difference between silicone and plastic (Good to know she's on the same page as I about silicone), directory of plastic free clothing and accessories...the list goes on.

If you don't know how important it is to eliminate plastic from our lives, for our health, for the planet's health, and for the animals' health, then, you definitely should pick up a copy. You can buy this digital version (like I did) or you can preorder the hardcover paper version soon.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Beth Terry's "Plastic-Free" book is inspiring to me because I had already started my journey on a plastic free life by replacing some plastic items in my life with more healthful (for me & the earth) items. In the book are many stories of other pioneers making changes, teaching others and making a difference. I am even more inspired to continue my journey after reading this book.

The book is very informative because it is full of many resources (products, book titles, links, companies) to help anyone accomplish being plastic free for themselves and to educate & encourage others to be plastic free, too. The examples of the damage plastic does is eye opening and I learned that much of this damage is kept from the general public by the plastic industry!

"Plastic-Free" is a must read for anyone who is ready to make a positive change in their life, their families' lives, their communities and on this delicate earth with it's innocent people and life forms that are all damaged by plastic.
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Format: Hardcover
I consider myself environmentally savvy and try to keep my carbon footprint to a minimum by reducing bottled water/
single serve packaging/plastic purchases. However I did learn tons from Terry's book:

1) Plastic bags are usually down-cycled to carpet or fleece (not made into new plastic bags) so the loop isn't closed.
2) Stainless steel tiffins can be used for take-out food.
3) Take an empty travel mug through airport security and re-fill from a water fountain on the other side.
4) CDS and DVDS contain BPA.

Terry inspired me to consider a stainless steel mug and tray for road trips. I'll also buy a Japanese lacquer bento box
for travel use. I subtracted 1 star because she suggested using microwaves (toxic EMF). She also suggests using LUSH solid
shampoo bars ... which contain harmful sulfates and artificial colors. It doesn't make sense to trade 1 toxin for another.
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