“I am excited to see a second edition of Plastic-Free by Beth Terry. Beth’s book, with its ingenuity, hands-on examples, and humor will serve as an inspiration and educational resource to readers. The pages that follow provide a toolkit for actionable behavior change at home, work, and in the wider world.“ —Jack Johnson, musician, cofounder of the Kokua Hawai’i Foundation
Readers Guide: Download a free Readers Guide for your book group with over 50 questions to get you thinking and discussing!
Updates: As I mention in the Author’s Note, while the principles of plastic-free living are timeless, the specifics can change. Resources change, websites move, companies go out of business, campaigns succeed or fail. Visit the Updates Page for changes and corrections since the original hardback edition went to press in early 2012. (The new paperback edition already includes these changes.)
If you find the information on MyPlasticfreeLife.com to be useful, why not buy the book? Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too (Skyhorse Publishing Company) is a practical guide to ridding your life—and the planet—of plastic.
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 popular blog, My Plastic-Free Life—Terry provides personal anecdotes, stats about the environmental and health problems related to plastic, and personal solutions and tips on how to limit your plastic footprint.
Terry includes handy lists and charts for easy reference, ways to get involved in larger community actions, and profiles of individuals— Plastic-Free Heroes—who have gone beyond personal solutions to create a change on a larger scale. Plastic-Free also includes chapters on letting go of eco-guilt, strategies for coping with overwhelming problems, and ways to relate to other people who aren’t as far along on the plastic-free path. Both a practical guide and the story of a personal journey from helplessness to empowerment, Plastic-Free is a must-read for anyone concerned about the ongoing health and happiness of themselves, their children, and the planet.
People who are just waking up to the problems of plastic will find the step-by-step approach useful and non-intimidating. Those who are a lot further along the path will find plenty to further challenge themselves. Everyone will be inspired by the interviews with some amazing activists and entrepreneurs who are going beyond personal changes to have an even greater impact in the world. And look for tips from MyPlasticfreeLife.com community members.
View Photos of the Hard Copy Book
Take a little tour of what goes into a plastic-free book.
A Message to Parents
While most of the content in the book is appropriate for all ages, there is some material you should be aware of. In Chapter 8, I deal with feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the plastic pollution problem and share how at one point, I started drinking the vodka and Everclear I bought for cleaning. There’s also a story in that chapter about wine in a Klean Kanteen. The chapter then goes on to discuss healthy ways of coping instead of numbing with substances. You might want to read that chapter first and decide whether it’s appropriate for your kids and how much guidance you should give them if you let them read it.
The only other iffy thing I can think of are a few brief references to plastic-free adult products in the “Personal Care & Household Cleaning” chapter. Just be ready to answer questions if they arise. Honestly? They probably won’t.
Praise for Plastic-Free
Library Journal: After learning how plastic pollution in the ocean harms wildlife, environmentalist Terry committed herself to buying less plastic in 2007 and began blogging about her efforts at MyPlasticFreeLife.com (formerly known as Fake Plastic Fish). Here, she bluntly chronicles her experience reducing her plastic waste from almost four pounds monthly to two pounds annually and creates a focused guide for all of us hoping to reduce our own plastic consumption. Though it includes an informative overview of the plastic problem, the book’s real strength lies in the practical tips Terry shares. While she started with baby steps that many of us already take, she has developed sophisticated strategies for upholding her principles and presents what she learned through her years of personal experience and product research. She offers new, repurposed, and homemade alternatives to plastic products and highlights innovative entrepreneurs and plastic-free heroes. VERDICT Works like Charles Moore’s Plastic Ocean are increasing awareness of the mounting plastic problem; Plastic Free offers concerned readers inspiration and concrete steps they can take to combat it personally. Recommended.—Bonnie Poquette, Milwaukee
“The problem or the solution starts with each one of us. We can choose to live a life of mindless consumption, becoming consumed by our possessions, or we can choose to live an inspired life, always working to create harmony with our environment. In Plastic-Free, Beth Terry shares the story of her path to a life filled with less plastic and more harmony. Anyone who reads this book will be motivated to follow her lead.” —Jack Johnson, musician, cofounder of the Ko¯kua Hawai’i Foundation
“I’ve been struggling to rid my home of plastics for years. This book makes it so much easier!” —Linda Ronstadt, musician, Plastic Pollution Coalition member
“Friendly, fun, and informative, Plastic-Free is a tutorial on how to cut plastics from your life. Beth empowers us to implement change in our own lives and save the world at the same time. Refuse disposable plastics!” —Dianna Cohen, visual artist, creative director and cofounder, Plastic Pollution Coalition
“Tempted to bring your own reusable silverware to take-out joints but dread the eye-rolling it may generate? This book is for you. With sass and intelligence, the anti-plastic crusader Beth Terry guides readers toward the road less consumptive, offering practical advice and moral support while making a convincing case that individual actions to lighten our environmental impact do matter.” —Elizabeth Royte, author, Garbage Land and Bottlemania
“We’re so addicted to plastic, it’s hard to imagine doing without it. But Beth Terry dared to imagine, and with hard work, humor and lots of trial and error—turns out there’s no easy way to make your own liquid hand soap—she broke the plastic habit. Her book is informative and inspirational—an ideal combination for anyone hoping to follow a less plastic path.” —Susan Freinkel, author Plastic: A Toxic Love Story
“We could have such lovely things in our lives. Why do we settle for crap made from plastic? Beth Terry is the pioneer when it comes to building a life filled with the things that truly matter.” —Colin Beavan, author, No Impact Man, and founder of the No Impact Project
“This is the tool that we’ve all been waiting for to ease the transition to going plastic-free. Time to wake up. Peace.” —Rosanna Arquette, actor, Plastic Pollution Coalition member
“The use of plastic is enmeshed in our American way of life. Kicking any habit is tough, but kicking a habit that is invisible in its ubiquity is even more difficult. In this important and enjoyable book, Beth Terry walks the reader through her trials and travails and shows what the average person can do to rid themselves of plastic. Along the way, she creatively demonstrates that ridding one’s life of plastic is not only good for the planet but also good for the health and the pocketbook of the American consumer. This book is inspirational and has helped me kick my plastic habit not only when shopping but throughout my daily life.” —Congressman Steve Cohen, Tennessee
“Beth Terry is one of the most inspiring people on the planet. Her wisdom about plastic-free living is a beacon of hope for what’s possible. Everyone should read this book!” —Stacy Malkan, cofounder, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of Not Just a Pretty Face
“Inspiring. Empowering. And most of all, liberating! Finally, here’s everything you need to know to live a healthy, safe, plastic-free life. Kudos to Beth Terry! She’s definitely my plastic-free guru!” —Diane MacEachern, author, Big Green Purse
“Beth is the most knowledgeable person on plastic, particularly disposable plastic, that I know. Her journey to getting rid of disposable plastic is inspiring and amazing, but she also makes it doable for the rest of us. When I first met her, I lived my life pretty nontoxic, but I still used a lot of disposable plastic. Her efforts inspired me to eliminate disposable plastic too, and faced with choices, I always ask myself WWBD (or What Would Beth Do)? She is the standard by which I measure my ‘greenness.’ ” —Jennifer Taggart, www.thesmartmama.com, author of Smart Mama’s Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure
“Plastic-Free tells a story that could inspire everyday behavior change for all of us. Small steps, leading to one big milestone—a planet free of plastic pollution. The power lies with each of us to take these steps. It is that simple.” —Daniella Dimitrova Russo, cofounder and executive director, Plastic Pollution Coalition
ADDITIONAL REVIEWS: Check out what the media have to say about Plastic-Free.