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Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too Paperback – April 21, 2015
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“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) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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. The paper version of the book is plastic free, packaging is plastic free, and shipping is plastic free - the whole book is compostable afterwards! No glue and no toxic ink was used. Compostable cotton thread was used to bind the book!
I think we are worse than the dead albatross in the Gyre. The poor birds couldn't escape plastic that they had nothing to do with, 2000 miles away from us - but we are swimming in plastic every day and dying from the effects.
We owe it to our children to eliminate plastic from our lives so they don't end up like the albatross babies, dead with stomach filled with plastic soda caps. And Beth Terry teaches us 'how', with this book.
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. That little triangle you thought meant something was recyclable actually doesn't mean anything, and I am finding myself looking aghast at my yogurt tub and a lot of other things that I thought were being tidily recycled. The author also discusses bio-plastics and silicone.
Plastic Free obviously has a lot of thought put into it. Every time I came up with an objection or proviso, Terry magically anticipated and addressed it -- from the way plastic is really more symbolic of our wasteful lives than anything else, to the fact that reusable bags are frequently made out of oil-based fabrics like nylon or polyester, to the bigger lifestyle and ethical changes that going plastic free entails. Yet it's not didactic, smug, judgy, or simplistic, and that is quite an achievement.
Where Plastic Free loses me a bit is the science. There are a lot of 'may' and 'can' statements about plastic toxicity that the available evidence is inconclusive about. For example, Terry writes that "endocrine disruptors may actually have an increased effect in very small doses," and then cites an article analyzing an EPA study in which the panel of toxicologists, according to the write-up, "is not persuaded that a low dose effect of BPA has been conclusively established as a general or reproducible finding." It's definitely something that merits further research, but not a compelling reason for me to exorcise every last plastic-lined can of tomatoes from my cupboard. She also cites the Environmental Working Group frequently, although 79% of toxicologists surveyed say it overstates chemical dangers. I have to wonder whether replacing plastic things that studies show as being low risk with non-plastic alternatives is really a good use of resources or evidence-based decision making. Then again, heart disease and cancer are hereditary in my family, and I tend not to sweat the small stuff.
Also, as a factual nitpick, toxoplasmosis in otters from cat waste has been strongly linked to fresh water run-off rather than municipal sewage systems, so keeping your cats inside and spaying them to reduce feral cat populations is probably going to be more effective than not flushing cat litter.
Although it doesn't work for me as a science book (which it isn't meant to be), Plastic Free works on many other levels and is a testament to grassroots activism and personal conviction. I've been bringing my own bags to the grocery store for years, but now I'm feeling inspired to take the Show Your Plastic Challenge and remember to bring my own take out containers. Good read. Thank you, Beth.
However, the author makes no sense to me. Birds dying was the reason she went plastic-free, yet she would never stop eating them?
It sucks that almost all celebrities/well-known people are inconsistent/lying in some way.