Author Archives: Beth Terry

November 25, 2015

Homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup. Goodbye Campbell’s!


via Lotherington on Flickr

Happy almost Thanksgiving, Americans.  For those of you for whom Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be right without green bean casserole, I present: DIY organic condensed cream of mushroom soup that honestly tastes better than Campbell’s.  It’s so good, I was eating it straight out of the pan with a spoon last night.  I hope I still have enough tomorrow to make my casserole.  (Only sort of kidding.  This recipe makes a lot!)

Three years ago, I confessed to my weakness for casseroles that contain Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup.  Now, there’s all sorts of badness associated with that product:  from the BPA and/or other mystery plastic lining the can to the non-organic, factory farmed ingredients.  Still, I couldn’t imagine living without it…

…until now.  My recipe is a modified version of this one I found at Deep South Dish.  Warning:  … Read the rest

November 23, 2015

New (and Old) Tools to Eliminate Plastic Straws


By now, many or most of you have seen the shocking viral video of a sea turtle with a plastic drinking straw stuck up its nose and the team of ocean researchers attempting to pull it out.  I don’t normally like to begin posts with gruesome images, but in this case, I’m hoping this video will not simply horrify you but also fill your heart with compassion and spur you to action.  It’s 8 minutes long, and if you have the patience to watch the entire thing, it’s worth it.… Read the rest

October 26, 2015

Lovely Naked Lettuce (and Other Pretty Plastic-Free Produce)


Lettuce wraps are my new best friend.  I don’t love salad, but I’ve discovered (very late to the party) that nice fat lettuce leaves can substitute for any bread-type product.  In fact, I can’t think of a single type of sandwich, be it on bread, bagels, tortillas, or any other grain-based leavened baked good, that can’t be made even better (and of course healthier) by using lettuce instead.   (Okay, grilled cheese.  But I’ll figure out a way.)

The thing is, I can’t buy lettuce just anywhere.  Why?  Because, in the immortal words of Jeb Berrier in the film, Bag It, “I like my lettuce loose, like my ladies.” Or something like that.  It’s 1am, and I don’t feel like looking it up.  But most lettuce, even if it’s not wrapped in plastic, has either a plastic band or a big fat twist tie around it.

And while some of those twist ties are wire and paper instead of plastic, I’d… Read the rest

August 24, 2015

My Favorite Plastic-Free Sandwich and Snack Baggies and Containers


Are you still relying on plastic baggies, bags, or containers to pack lunches for school or work? Are you concerned about the chemicals that can leach out of plastics into the foods you or your kids eat? A lot of plastic food containers are touted as BPA-free. But BPA-free does not necessarily mean safe because the chemicals used in place of BPA can have the same harmful effects. And plastics like polypropylene may contain antibacterial chemicals like Triclosan, which have been found to leach.

Here are a few of my favorite reusable cloth and stainless steel sandwich/snack baggies or containers.  My criteria for selecting them as my favorites are that 1) they contain the least amount of plastic or other synthetic polymer, and 2) I know and respect the owners of the companies that make them.  This is by no means an exhaustive list of the offerings out there.  And yes, two of these companies are advertisers on this site: I chose them as sponsors … Read the rest

August 2, 2015

One Week Without Plastic Trash in Germany


The following is a guest post by two German students, Laura and Sophie, who tried an experiment to live one week without plastic trash.  Click here to check out their blog and read this story in the original German.  These posts reveal their successes, frustrations, and attempts at trying new things (like black coffee!)  Please enjoy, and if you know of good resources in Germany, please be sure and leave a comment for them.


The first plastic-free shopping

The first plastic free shopping was not that easy. Once you enter the supermarket, you notice that there is almost nothing you can buy as you would normally do. Usually I am going to the supermarket and buy the things I like the most and which are affordable. But now there is a restriction: no plastic package. Here in Germany, they do not offer the vegetables I am always buying without plastic package. So I have to take another salad and different apples and put them into my reusable bag. Somehow… Read the rest

August 2, 2015

Homemade Tooth Powder and Facial Scrub Recipes, Sans Plastic Microbeads


Neutrogena Deep Clean gentle scrub still contains microbeads as of 08/02/2105. Photo from website.

Are you still rubbing plastic all over your face?

Since I first reported on microbeads–those tiny bits of plastic added to facial scrubs, toothpaste, and other personal care products–in 2007 and then again in 2013, the NY Times has reported on them, several U.S. states have passed legislation to ban them,  Canada is on the verge of banning them, and the Story of Stuff Project has created a video and campaign to get other states and countries to follow suit.  (Please follow that link, if you haven’t already, to take action and ask your representatives to ban microbeads where you live.)

But the trouble with some of  the proposed legislation is that it allows companies to switch to “biodegradable” plastic microbeads.  That’s a problem because most “biodegradable”… Read the rest

July 27, 2015

Storing Produce in Glass Is Safe, Healthy, and Beautiful

Storing in Glass is beautiful (c) featured

Last year, I received the following email from blog reader Melliny:

Hi…I recently began converting plastic to glass in my kitchen. It has been such an exciting experience to me that I took photos along the way to inspire my family to hopefully do the same…. The fact is that storing good food in glass is very beautiful, which is inspiring.

Please enjoy these gorgeous images, as well as Melliny’s explanation of how she stores fruits and vegetables in glass in her refrigerator.  At the end, I’ve added a few of my own ideas.

I got rid of the “vegetable bins” in my refrigerators where plastic bags filled with rotting produce are most likely to live and use glass jars to store almost everything. You don’t need veggie bins when each type of produce you have has its own transparent glass container.  It is also more convenient sometimes to lay tall jars on their sides, such as when you have soft, heavy fruit like… Read the rest

July 26, 2015

Fresh Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe


My new favorite thing this summer is making tomato sauce from scratch using fresh tomatoes and my toaster oven.  Why would I need to do that when it’s easy to buy tomato sauce in glass jars?  Well, several reasons.  First, even plastic-free packaging like glass has an environmental footprint.  (I’ll write more about that in my next post.)  I’d rather avoid most kinds of packaging (especially when the homemade alternative is as simple as this one is.)  And second, homemade tomato sauce from fresh summer tomatoes is delicious.  In fact, it’s so good, I sometimes just eat it with a spoon directly from its repurposed jar.

Two tools make this recipe super easy for me:  my ancient toaster oven and a secondhand stainless steel food mill I found at a yard sale several years ago.

First, I spread out the tomatoes on the toaster oven baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over them.  With bigger tomatoes, you’d… Read the rest

July 16, 2015

New Plastic-Free AND Sugar-Free Green Tree Chewing Gum


I don’t chew gum, but Michael does, as did legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager (maybe he still does.)  But if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that most chewing gum (even “natural” Glee Gum) either contains plastic as an ingredient in the gum base or is packaged in plastic.

For a while, English company Peppersmith offered a plastic-free gum in plastic-free packaging.  Sadly, the company switched to a synthetic gum base last year, much to the dismay of many of its loyal customers, if the comments in this post are any indication.

Simply Gum came along with all natural gum in plastic-free packaging.  But many people are concerned that the sweetener used is cane sugar, which is bad for dental hygiene.

Now, Portland, Oregon company Green Tree Gum is offering an all natural, synthetic-free chewing gum in plastic-free cardboard packaging, and it’s sweetened with xylitol, which is good… Read the rest

July 8, 2015

#PlasticfreeJuly Book Review: That’s a Wrap eGuide


Since writing my book Plastic-Free, I’ve had multiple requests for a condensed version with just the basics for getting started. My answer is usually, “Great idea. How about you write it?” Because seriously, we need as many plastic-free voices in the media as possible. And to be honest, I get tired of hearing my own voice.  Well, now someone else gone and written the shorter guide that people have been clamoring for.

What’s Included

In her new, brightly illustrated digital ebook That’s a Wrap, just in time for Plasticfree July, Australian blogger Lindsay Miles includes basic information about problems with plastic (as well as the drawbacks to recycling and plant-based plastics) and why you’d want to reduce your use of it.

After getting the problems out of the way in the first 25% of the book, Lindsay goes on to offer a wealth of plastic-free tips and solutions,

highlighted throughout… Read the rest