Monday, July 16, 2012

Book review: Plastic Free by Beth Terry

I'm still in the process of reading this book, actually.  But I'm a slow reader (maybe get through two books a year).  I'm only halfway through, but the tone of the book is set and I've made use of the reference section at the end already, so I'll express what I'm getting out of this book so far. 

The full title is Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too.   The book portrays the title impeccably.  Beth Terry talks about her adventures with trying to live plastic free, her struggles with convenience and habits, both hers and others'.   She explains the problems with plastic and why we should give a damn about trying to rid ourselves of it.  And she gives as many alternatives as she can fit into this book for common, everyday plastics in our lives, as well as areas where she is not ready to sacrifice certain losses to go plastic free. 

Funny story: I borrowed this book from my local library.  I got my mom (who works there) to drop it off for me on her way home from work.  She hands it to me and to my surprise, it's wrapped in plastic!  And I exclaimed just that.  My mom laughed and said, "I hadn't even thought of that."  They wrap all their books in plastic for extra protection, since, of course, library books get used by many different people.  Oddly enough, the very next day after receiving my newest reading material, Beth Terry had put up a new blog talking about this very thing; libraries and book stores wrapping her plastic-free books in plastic.  The books themselves are even made with as little plastic as possible.  (You'd be surprised how much plastic goes into making the average book.)

The best part of this book is the upbeat attitude she keeps about it all.  Terry never calls anyone down on plastic waste, but tries to educate on why it matters to her, without the nagging or the guilt.  Guilt is something she will not allow herself to go through, and encourages us, the readers, to learn from our choices without guilt. 

I have found the index extremely valuable for quickly finding her opinion and (hopefully) solution to any specific plastic problem.   She has recipes for common foods like ketchup that come in plastic containers, gives ideas for how to make items like pet toys,  as well as many options for where to buy plastic free items such as lunchboxes, water bottles, shower curtains, shoes and more. 

Terry reiterates again and again the importance of just trying to keep at it, and not giving up.  Things we don't think about until it's too late come up again and again, and all she asks is that you try your best to remember for next time.  For example, when you go to a restaurant and your drink automatically comes with a straw.  Did you really need that straw?  Probably not.  Did they ask if you wanted one?  Probably not.  So it is up to us to try to remember to ask for no straw.  These little things that we all take for granted add up.   But it's important not to beat ourselves up over it, either.

For anyone trying to improve in their attempt to reduce waste, this book has some great ideas and some great stories.  She loves to hear from her readers, too.  You can check out her blog at

No comments:

Post a Comment