Book Review: Plastic Free by Beth Terry

When reading non fiction I want to accomplish two things: being inspired and learning something new. Beth Terry’s Plastic-Free: How I Kicked The Habit and How You Can Too was chock full of new information and inspiration, making it easy to devour.

This book came at a great time for me, as I was feeling a bit discouraged about all of my efforts and wondering if I was really accomplishing anything. I had recently stopped by a Shop Rite in a lower income neighborhood and felt completely overwhelmed by the masses of yellow plastic bags crammed full of discount junk food. I felt like maybe I was just preaching to the choir, and my message about low cost greener living was falling on deaf ears.

But this book reawoke my passion after reading about Beth’s successful campaign to create a Brita filter take-back program and blogger Lisa Sharp’s win for recycling in her small town in Oklahoma.

The book also taught me several important things I never knew and inspired me to try out a few new simple tips:

– Never throw paper receipts in the recycling bin as they are coated in BPA which taints the recycling system.

– While I try not to use too many plastic bags for my produce (I never bag hard rind things like bananas, lemons, and avocados), I should be saving those bags for reuse instead of just recycling them. Or bringing my own produce bags.

– I should stop storing my homemade bread in a Ziploc bag and get a bamboo breadbox.

– I have to stop putting my tomatoes in the fridge.

– If your local landfill doesn’t captures methane gas for reuse, it might not be worthwhile to use biodegradable bags for things like dog waste. If you can’t compost a biodegradable bag (i.e. dog waste bag or cups for a party without a compost option), is it better to just buy regular bags/cups/etc? The pro is that the bio options probably used less resources to be produced. But if they are destined for the landfill to produce methane gas, maybe it is better to just buy recyclable plastic cups and regular dog bags?

I’ve known Beth as a fellow green blogger for a while and admired her struggle to live without something as ubiquitous as plastic. And the timing for this book is fortuitous, as local Philadelphia bloggers are currently launching a campaign to ban plastic bags in our city! And reading this book, I think it just may be possible. 🙂

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