Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too
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Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  269 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Like many people, Beth Terry didn't think an individual could have much impact on the environment. But while laid up after surgery, she read an article about the staggering amount of plastic polluting the oceans and decided then and there to kick her plastic habit. Now she wants to teach you how you can too. In her quirky and humorous style well known to the readers of her...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 15th 2012 by Skyhorse Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Siobhan
Having been a fan of the blog for some time, I had been eagerly waiting for her book to be published and ordered it directly from the author (signed, and in a plastic-free mailer!) as soon as I found it was available. The most concise review I can come up with is this: There is no point in going through this book with sticky-notes or a highlighter, as it's so chock-full of resources, suggestions, and anecdotes about nearly every topic someone who is new to living a plastic-free life could want t...more
Tamara
So much to say.

You can tell the author is used to writing a blog. Many of the sections are probably pulled straight from her existing website. Conversational and personal, she spends a lot of time describing the journey and not just the end result.

That's partly why I found this so reassuring. Because really, as soon as you realize that you are surrounded by plastic, you start to freak out. Beth Terry understands the whole emotional process you go through when you want to make a change in your l...more
Mikhaela
I found this book a half-inspiring, half-annoying read--but excellent for what it promises to do.

Beth Terry does a great job of chronicling the way plastic has insinuated itself into every nook and cranny of our lives at massive and unsustainable environmental and health cost via her own journey to live as plastic-free as possible. And she provides exhaustive lists of tips and resources for eliminating or reducing or reusing--and sometimes just recycling--plastics in every aspect of domestic Am...more
Helena
I usually mark pages that contain information I want to follow up on later (like websites I want to check out) or a good idea I'd like to try. Had I done that with Plastic-Free the whole thing would have been bristling with Post-it flags. I checked this out of the library to see if it was worth buying a copy, and the answer is yes. I'd love to have it around as a reference and to re-read, since I have to give it back to the library now. And hey, if I have my own copy then I won't have the oddity...more
krista.
I bought this book because I decided to really get serious about cutting my plastic consumption, and I wanted some textual support on my journey. This book has way more information than I could absorb in one go, but I feel like it's both a great resource for information and for a supportive voice when trying to do the right thing becomes overwhelming. Beth Terry is a great cheerleader in this book, and I very much appreciate that tone because the subject matter can seem quite overwhelming and gr...more
Danielle
I LOVE this book simply because Beth puts everything we need to know about the "problems with plastic and what we can do about those problems" into one easy to read book.

It's a book that shows us possibilities... and it's so freaking inspiring.

My favorite theme of Plastic-Free is: By letting others see our personal changes, we set an example of a different way to be.

Beth empowers her readers with the knowledge and know how to go out into the world and do something-- whether it's picking up lit...more
April Franklin
I hesitate in a way to mark this book as "read," because it was really more that I skimmed through the whole thing and read what grabbed me; I didn't read every word. But that wasn't because it was uninteresting - it was because it was a lot of information to take in and a bit overwhelming! Instead of reading this cover to cover, it almost would be better to use as a reference. But I have to get my copy back to the library - I may check it out again or purchase it in a few weeks! I would like to...more
Pam
My most-anticipated read of the year! Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too documents the journey of Beth Terry from average American consumer to plastic-free Jedi Master.
(I laughed when I found the library had wrapped it in plastic.)

I got it so I could learn from her, but also so I could find out crazy things:
--Does she brush her teeth with a toothbrush? (Do they make toothbrushes from anything but plastic?)
--How does she get prescriptions if they're not in a plastic...more
Julie
This book was a great motivator and really made me (re)consider how much plastic I really do use on a daily basis!

Beth Terry takes a conversational tone and admits her flaws/bizarre habits, giving you confidence to try some plastic free habits.

I will admit that some of the recommendations are a little far unrealistic based on time for my personal lifestyle (AKA making my own glue and crackers won't be realistic) but I'm definitely trading in much of the plastic I use for more sustainable version...more
Laura Hughes
As a wake-up call, this is effective, and depressing. Terry explains the problems with plastic in a way that hits both emotionally and logically. It's hard to ignore or deny the problem after reading. I recently got into the whole "Zero Waste" thing, so I knew I wanted to stop consuming one-use plastic disposables like ziploc bags and plastic utensils, but after reading, I really want to stop buying "long term" plastic stuff too (there's no such thing as Buy It For Life plastic and all plastic u...more
Jessica
I've read a lot of books in this genre this year. Plastic Free has some pros and cons compared to others. In some ways, eliminating plastic is a more feasible goal (although difficult) than going to completely zero waste, especially for people who don't live in areas where everything is available in bulk. Terry also manages to avoid the extreme sanctimoniousness of books like Zero Waste Home. Many of her resources are quite useful.

However, in the actual reading, the book teetered awkwardly betw...more
Libby
This book offered a wide variety of solutions to apply green principles of reducing and reusing plastic materials rather than relying on recycling as a crutch. It debunks the common perception that it's okay to use plastic as long we remember to recycle after using it. Beth Terry wins us over by telling how she lived before she became an "eco chick" and discusses the questions she asked to lead her to a healthier lifestyle.
Stephanie Coldiron
Great info on how plastic is ruining our world. Hard to live by completely, but lots of great ideas on helping the environment.
Caren

i think I'm alone in my affinity for this type of book, at least among my friends. But this is the kind of stuff that weighs on me and that I'm constantly drawn to; I was grateful for some concrete suggestions for small, incremental changes I can make. I liked her perspective, although she's a bit over-zealous compared to what I feel I can do, but I appreciated her thorough research and strivings. Kind of a downer, considering the scope of the problem, but you know my mantra, by small and simple...more
Miki
This book will scare you to death. The author decided to remove all possible plastics from her life, and did a lot or research on it. The advice she gives ranges from "Gee, why didn't I think of that!" to "You want me to WHAT?!?". The scary part comes in where she tells you the effects of plastic on the environment, the earth, and all living things, including us. It's pretty awful.

Inspired, I started to go through my house, noticing all the plastics in just one or two rooms, and I was overwhelme...more
Katie
I won a copy of Plastic-Free on a twitter chat, and I am so glad I did! I'd stumbled upon Terry's blog awhile back, and it was a revelation. Living without plastic! Is it even possible? The answer is "yes!"

As someone who had started to peruse My Plastic-Free Life more and more often, I wondered what more Terry could pack into a book that she didn't have on her website. I was quite impressed; Terry managed to keep the book from being too derivative of her blog, and she included some new and expan...more
Green4u
Before I read Beth’s book, I blamed the “man” and “corporate America” for my inability to go plastic free but Beth’s book really showed me I can reduce my plastic consumption considerably with not as much effort as you are imagining.
Environmentalists get a bad reputation sometimes as being nutty and extreme. Beth book shows she is just like all of us. She recognizes the things that are hard for a person to address in their life when it comes to plastic. She tells the reader that you cannot chang...more
Laurie
This book is very well researched and well written. I think it is best to read it from cover to cover rather than flip through it which is what I did last summer. Plastic is scary and overwhelming but Beth Terry really does a great job breaking it down, giving useful tips, and offering encouragement and inspiration.

Someone below said she was flaky but I think that is part of her charm; she is a real ordinary person and gives her story a personal and often humorous touch. It does make a differenc...more
Amy
I wanted to like this book more, but the author could not be flakier if she tried.

1. The author(a grown woman) had a panic attack at the gym because she left her special metal water bottle at home. She couldn't buy a plastic bottle of water, after much thought, she realized she could drink out of the water fountain if she got thirsty.

2. The author was shocked to find the glass mason jar she was schlepping all over as a drink container was not allowed into a stadium because of their "no glass" po...more
Stephanie
A real eye opener. I've been working my way towards a plastic-reduced life, but didn't think it was possible to fully go plastic free. This book gives some great advice on what alternatives there are to our typical plastic needs. However, I don't think I'm quite ready to go as far as Beth Terry did, this book gave me some great insight. I went to the grocery store today and paid attention to what I purchased. I did have my reusable bags and cloth produce bag, but I was shocked by how much plasti...more
Shannon
Reading this book gave me several ideas on how I can reduce my use of plastic. It does seem staggering how entrenched in plastic my daily life is. It's in so many thing that make up a part of my everyday lifestyle. Convenience, on-the-go packaging will be hard to change. I thought this book was eye-opening and really makes me think about how harmful plastic is. I probably won't be able to totally kick my plastic habit, but I'll definitely try to reduce it. Some suggestions I already do--refillab...more
Sharon
After reading Chapter 1, I decided to make "Decrease the amount of plastic I use" my New Year's Resolution! Eliminating plastic completely is more than I'm willing to attempt, but I will certainly try to do more. Beth suggests setting a goal of 1 item per week, so that is my goal. First week I cut plastic soda containers. We bought cans which helped me cut my soda consumption as well. The second week we bought eggs in cardboard container rather than plastic. Also bought brown sugar in box, but d...more
Jamie
This book has super helpful information on getting rid of the excessive amounts of plastic we use. I really liked how the author did not use an overly preaching kind of tone - she admitted that it is difficult to stop using plastic and offered a list of ideas at the end of each chapter about how to cut back on plastic use. I also appreciated the numerous resources in this book for eliminating plastic use in all areas of life. Some of the resources even offered helpful information for not only ge...more
Cristie
For someone who is just starting out on a plastic-reduction journey, or who just wants to learn more about plastics, I think this book would be excellent. I found a lot of it to be talking about things I already know about or do, but I wasn't surprised, since I've been working away from many plastics for a while now. That said, I still found several useful resources in this book (which really is densely packed with helpful information), and have been re-inspired to look for some of the plastic a...more
Denise
I thought this book was a great eye-opener into the American convenience-filled way of life. I have been recycling for years, thinking I was doing a good thing for the planet, when what I should've been doing was refusing to buy plastic at all!

I made a huge list of notes while reading this book and have already implemented many of the practices Beth writes about. I will pass on as much info as I can to anyone willing to listen!

I love that Beth gives web addresses throughout the book and gives r...more
Keely
A topic of overwhelming importance but that has instilled in me the desire to "do something". There are so many great references to use to help any person feeling lost in the journey to reduce plastic consumption from personal use to encouraging companies to reduce theirs! (I think my first mission is to write a letter
to Seventh Generation about their plastic scoop in their powdered laundry detergent. Hey, I want to do more to help out and encourage others to do the same, bit by bit and little b...more
Rachel Jacobs
A wonderful resource guide. I checked it out from the library and after seeing the plethora of information Beth packs in I knew I had to own it.
Julia
I love how devoted Beth Terry is to being as plastic free as possible and think she has a lot of useful advice.
April
This little book was on the new reads shelf at the library. First of all, because of the plastic thing, it's bound differently (although of course the library put a layer of plastic over it). Because the author is really a blogger, the writing is informal and pretty easy to read. It's chock full of information and references (websites). It also has little stories about people who made a difference. The nice thing about this book is that, although full of answers and whatnot, she is not about gui...more
Steve Bivans
Plastics, and the oil whence they come, are a scourge on the planet. They will be around long after people are fossilized. Beth Terry tells her personal story of how she came to hate plastics, and how she and her family rid themselves of them. If you want to get rid of them too, and you should, then you have to read her book. Everyone on Earth, should read this book. Period.
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Beth Terry began her crusade against plastic overconsumption in 2007 when she started her popular blog, My Plastic-Free Life (the blog formerly known as Fake Plastic Fish), combining useful information about plastic-free alternatives with personal stories and the occasional rant. A founding member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Terry spearheaded the successful Take Back the Filter citizen act...more
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