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

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  478 Ratings  ·  90 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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Aug 06, 2012 Tamara rated it really liked it
Shelves: green, non-fiction
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
Jun 26, 2012 Siobhan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: environment, 2012
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
Jul 06, 2012 Mikhaela rated it really liked it
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
Jul 13, 2012 Helena rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jul 29, 2012 krista. rated it it was amazing
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
May 02, 2014 Danielle rated it it was amazing
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
April Franklin
Jan 19, 2013 April Franklin rated it really liked it
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
Aug 13, 2012 Pam rated it really liked it
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
Aug 31, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
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
Michelle Gartner
Feb 17, 2016 Michelle Gartner rated it really liked it
This book had a lot of facts and statistics to digest and could be overwhelming at times. I was disheartened by how much I thought I knew, but didn't actually have a clue about in regards to recycling single use disposable plastic.

This is a book like Zero Waste that is best taken on slowly if you are going to adopt the lifestyle. Dispensing with the guilt of plastic consumption and judging others on their using it, is just a waste of time, that would better spent towards making 'little drops in
May 11, 2016 Liz rated it it was amazing
Beth Terry opened my eyes a little wider. I think of myself as an environmentally responsible person. I recycle. I garden organically. I use my “canvas bags” at the grocery store. I make a conscious effort to live with an eye to being a good steward of the earth. But once again, as with native plants a few years ago, I have been made aware of things I didn’t know, didn’t understand. The slogan “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” has been around for awhile. Terry makes the point that “Refuse” can and should ...more
Nov 28, 2015 Lara rated it really liked it
Sorry, guys, Like I said, I'm getting hippier and hippier!

And a kind of hilarious side note: checked this book out from the library and guess what it's wrapped in. Plastic! Ha!

Anyway, I've been kind of freaked out by all that plastic out there for awhile, and have been gradually trying to make changes to use less of it. Some of the stuff in this book I've been doing for years (like carrying a bag of bags in my bag at all times, and using them everywhere and for everything), and some things I'm t
Jul 06, 2015 Danielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sustainability
I don’t think I can pinpoint my decision to transition to a zero-waste lifestyle to any singular moment. I’ve always been disgusted by bottled water use–initially for health reasons and then followed by the environmental impact. I would tout my nylon reusable bags with pride to the supermarket (and have since added cotton and hemp to the collection–my go-tos from now on). The need to waste less has always lingered.

I can, however, tell you when the desire to conserve skyrocketed. This past year I
Feb 02, 2015 Johanna rated it it was amazing
A book entirely about eliminating plastic from your life could be boring, or it could be really guilt inducing. I found this book to be neither. The author was honest about her own struggles, which helped me feel less guilty about my own, but also straightforward about the problems with plastic - for our world and for our own health. I found the book at once distressing, infuriating, enlightening, and empowering. I wish my brain were able to hold all of the information I got from it, and all the ...more
Sep 26, 2014 Aubrey rated it it was amazing
Back in late 2006 (my last bit of time in the Air Force) was when I first became both environmentally conscious in my impact and active about it. It started with unplugging unused electronics and boy did it drive my co-workers nuts. They even had a nickname for me. But hey, you do what you think is best, given what you know, as best you can. From then on I made change after change after change.

It ranged from the typical change of the type of light bulb I used, to going completely plant-based in
Laura Hughes
Mar 14, 2014 Laura Hughes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-to, homesteading
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
Jan 04, 2013 Libby rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 20, 2012 Stephanie Coldiron rated it liked it
Great info on how plastic is ruining our world. Hard to live by completely, but lots of great ideas on helping the environment.
Jul 27, 2014 Caren rated it really liked it

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
This book was a serious eye-opener about how our lifestyles impact the world. I knew about and visited Beth Terry's blog, but this is one of the best purchases I've made, because it is going into my arsenal on better, more environmentally friendly living. The book is filled with advice and resources on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle the plastic we are surrounded by. Really, once you realize just what plastic does to our environment and animals, you can't stop from seeing just how much of our ...more
Sep 20, 2012 Miki rated it it was ok
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
Jul 15, 2012 Katie rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 03, 2013 Green4u rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 12, 2014 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: fromlibrary, simpler
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
Aug 05, 2015 Ari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Definitely an interesting book... For some reason, until I stumbled onto the author's blog and this book, I never really thought about how much plastic there is and how harmful it can be, not to mention how awful it is for the environment.

The book gives some great suggestions on how to get rid of plastic/change it out. Too many great suggestions... I now have a wish list a mile long. And a wish that my city had more bulk bin options. Ah well.
Jul 27, 2015 Boiling rated it really liked it
I liked this book with plenty of resources and tips on what one can do. Some parts with the science ere boring and too long winded for me to read but then I know most of these things already, so I am not a good judge.

I really liked the part where she was authentic and admitted that she felt overwhelmed at the amount of work that needed to be done. I might not be able to live like her but it does make me more mindful as I go about to really look at these things and decreasing my plastic consumpt
Jul 22, 2013 Laurie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Feb 01, 2013 Amy rated it it was ok
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
Aug 02, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it
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
Britney Bankhead
May 13, 2015 Britney Bankhead rated it it was amazing
After watching the documentary Plastic Paradise, I was excited to read more about the topic of plastic use and what I could do to limit using plastic. This book was easy to read, informative, and offered realistic advice. Definitely eye-opening.
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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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“when I suggest an alternate way of doing things as an invitation for fun and creativity, the response is usually positive.” 1 likes
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