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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

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  861 ratings  ·  138 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 (first published January 1st 2012)
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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…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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Aug 06, 2012 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
Lauren (
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: 2012, environment
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
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
Chris Mara
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
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.
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
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
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
Barbara McEwen
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
3.5 stars - I borrowed this from the library but I think it might be worth buying. I am not sure how long the websites etc. will stay relevant, but it is nice to have all the resources. I was a bit overwhelmed at the start thinking about how much plastic I do use but the author is good at stressing that you take it as far as you want/are able and has small tasks you can focus on. That said, a lot of the plastic-free options are expensive or only available if you are living somewhere like Califor ...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!
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
If you are a dirty hippy this might be old hat
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.
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.
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
Jul 08, 2012 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
Dec 11, 2012 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.
AV Dept
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A great guide for reducing plastic in your life. Provides valuable resources and recipes.
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.
Suzanne Bhargava
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I am torn. I share the author’s horror at what plastic waste is doing to the planet, and her determination to make a personal change to stop contributing to that destruction (while hopefully inspiring others around me to do the same).

But I felt alienated straightaway in chapter 1 when I found the author claiming that autism is a disease caused by BPA plastics. First of all, autism is not a disease. And second of all, autism is not a disease. Also leading professionals in autism research are in
Christine Kenney
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I wonder if the library staffer noticed the irony as they ensconced this book in a plastic jacket?

This is another read with a worthwhile message but a book might not be the ideal medium for it... You want this topic to haunt you, not daunt you.
-reading cover to cover can create feelings of overwhelm that a chapter devoted to the topic cannot easily diffuse
-many of the businesses, legislation, etc. listed in the book are outdated 5 years later... i.e. none of the furniture makers listed appear t
Stacy Schmidt
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I liked learning about the author's journey to become plastic-free. I think she did a great job of highlighting the reasons she decided to avoid plastic, and the challenges of doing so. She is very straightforward about the practicalities of this type of life change, and honestly acknowledges that it is a long process that takes many small steps. I also like that she addressed a variety of different reasons why many people want to avoid plastic (such as health and environmental reasons, and self ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really respect the author's initiative to live a plastic-free life. That being said, while I found this book useful for a lot of information and suggestions on good alternatives to lessen plastic consumption, I quickly lost my ability to tolerate the narration. I think it just goes to show that it can be almost impossible to explain alternative lifestyle choices that go against the grain of society (even to those who totally agree with them) to others without coming off as a privileged hipster ...more
I.D. Blind
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Plastic-Free” is the best book I’ve read on the subject. Beth Terry has done an incredible research, covering all the aspects of our lives and teaching us how to use less plastic. Only after you start reading this book you realzie how deeply we’re stuck in this endless plastic pit. Beth manages to tell about the horror that’s happening in the world right now and manages to sound unpreachy or condescending.
Once I began reading I kept highlighting important passages, but soon realzied that this
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: earth
This is the first book I've read on the world's plastic problem, and I think it was an excellent place to start. It is full of information on plastic and bullet points on different companies and initiatives (some of which I did skip through, but bookmarked for later reference), so it seems a bit overwhelming at first. But if you keep reading, the author uses her own story of going plastic free to inspire and show that it's not an easy road. I also appreciate her stating "I didn't write this book ...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
“when I suggest an alternate way of doing things as an invitation for fun and creativity, the response is usually positive.” 0 likes
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