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

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,148 ratings  ·  181 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
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Rachel Ayers Yes she does go in to a lot of detail about how to shop around the plastic packaging in stores. There's good information about buying in bulk to reduc…moreYes she does go in to a lot of detail about how to shop around the plastic packaging in stores. There's good information about buying in bulk to reduce plastic use if you can't get entirely away from plastic containers. She's also got good information about contacting companies to request alternative packaging. And she's got good resources for how to make your own stuff if you absolutely can't buy it plastic-free on the current market.(less)

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  1,148 ratings  ·  181 reviews

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Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, green
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
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ok, so this book was long and hard to get through.... But one of the most inspiring and motivating at the same time! Ha. Heavy on information but also a ton of practical suggestions.

I kind of feel like someone who just watched a fast-food documentary: part disgusted, part in shock, as well as part "so what do I do with that information?"

Notes to self:

-Receipts cannot be recycled
-"BPA free" has proved as bad or worse than regular BPA plastic
-Antibacterial cleaners are not good because they also
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
A very positive and non-preachy guide on how to get rid of your plastic addiction. It talks about what plastic actually is, how it's made, and what it does to the environment. Most of the book is a practical guide, though, which was actually great and very realistic and doable.

I would recommend this to anyone who still buys single-use plastic bottles (whether for water or anything else), or still uses disposable plastic bags like it's nothing. I promise you, this book will make you feel like it
Jul 06, 2012 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
May 20, 2012 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
Jan 12, 2012 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
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Four “recyclable” stars for this particular environmental / ecology book.

The author is also a blogger and this book is written in a style that is casual, personable and knowledgeable and not overly scientific, yet educational. It is very user and reader friendly, which made me breeze through it in a short amount of time. This is a very practical guidebook.

The intro section by Beth Terry tells us how she first came upon truly questioning plastics (while being invalid after a surgery). The more
Jul 25, 2012 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
Feb 02, 2015 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
I'm a teenager who loves nature living in an era of devastating habitat loss and animal species decline, disgusting pollution and apocolyptically terrifying changes in the world's climate. But I'm optimistic about the future, because of people like Beth Terry.

This book is the ultimate guide to the problems of plastic and how to reduce it in your life. Not only is there an unbeatable collection of well-researched information, resources and tips, but this book is chock-full of inspiring personal s
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A lot of 5-star reads lately :)

Look, there are many things that inspired me to go with that rating. Number one being that at a point where I thought to myself that it’s all too much, plastic is in fucking (sorry) everything and I will never get rid of it, there came a chapter called ‘when it’s overwhelming’ and what to do when it all starts feeling like too much. Very much appreciated.

I loved the insertion od everyday heroes - people who changed things and proved that one person CAN in fact mak
Debbie Boucher
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is about as comprehensive as it gets on this subject. The author also blogs at The problem of plastic in our environment is huge, and it's not an easy one to solve. But like Terry, I am doing what I can to make changes. I like her approach, and I appreciate her research and dedication to this subject. I also believe, as the author does, that even small changes can make a difference. If you're looking for information and inspiration on this subject, this book is f ...more
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful read. Definitely something I'd recommend for anyone looking to *throw out* plastic culture. It's a quick read—I finished it pretty quickly while sitting at the library, though I did take a lot of notes on it. I wish I had my own copy! ...more
Rachel Ayers
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Solid research. Lots of solutions and alternatives for anyone at any level of concern or commitment.
April Franklin
Jan 16, 2013 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
May 01, 2014 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
Apr 05, 2012 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
Stephanie Coldiron
Aug 05, 2012 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.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
If you are a dirty hippy this might be old hat
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot but I feel it would help to have a revamp and restructured, especially for the audiobook. It had really good info but I felt spent a lot of time on subjects I didn't need to go so deep into and then rushed to get other items in before finishing. References to companies and places to get plastic free options is great, but the websites could have been placed in an index and instead of reading out the addresses in each section. I found myself skipping that a lot. But I feel ...more
Barb Nelson
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beth Terry is friendly, enthusiastic, and thankfully not particularly judgmental. She does an excellent job of describing her own journey to a plastic-free life. I don’t think I’ll ever take it as far as she has, but still I learned a lot of helpful strategies, and just seeing how she did it gave me a clearer vision of what to do. My only complaint is that if you’re already onboard with the need to cut down on plastic, the first third or so of the book is tedious. She doesn’t really get down to ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Great Way to Start Thinking

This book is a great way to open your eyes to the dangers of plastics and how you can do your best to avoid them. The only reason I'm subtracting a star is because a lot of the solutions seem money-based. I'd appreciate some pointers for the folks who can't afford the special eco friendly stuff.
All in all, though, a good way to get started!
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, home
Helpful; mostly made me feel extra-paranoid. But she writes in a nonjudgmental way, which is refreshing, particularly in this zero-waste arena, which tends to be very self-righteous.
Angélique (MapleBooks)
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book, probably the best I've read about living waste-free so far. It's very practical with a lot of links to references, shops and further information.
Highly recommended.
Chloe H.
A lot more homegrown and down to earth than other guides for waste reduction that I have read. Surprisingly though, things have changed a lot since 2012 and some advice is already out of date.
Arroma Assada
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing

It is an eye opening book which represents the negative impact of plastic on our earth. The writer mentions all the plastic items we use in our daily life and the alternatives that we can use to avoid polluting the planet.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Potentially life changing book. Not only tells you why you should reduce your use of plastic but gives you many ways on how you can make an impact. Recommended highly!!
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story! I like the idea of making small changes, and appreciated the links.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought I wouldn't find too many new ideas here that I had not already thought of, but it did move me further along in the right direction. I think it's a great idea for everybody to become more aware of how we can cut back on unnecessary use of plastic and how many small changes can make a difference. And I had to laugh when, at the point in the reading when I was starting to feel overwhelmed, there was a chapter called "What to do when you feel overwhelmed" (quoting from memory). That was ju ...more
Kim Dicso
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book at my partner's behest to understand why she was giving away all of our plastic and not buying any new plastic. This book was easy to read and is pretty much a manual on how to live plastic-free or at least plastic-less. Truly life changing! Reading this book changed how I view the world and my own consumption. ...more
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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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