Kicking The Plastic Habit {Book Review}

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Photo Credit: My Plastic Free Life

Here it is. That raging topic making the headlines more and more each year: Plastic.

As consumers who try to live a green, eco-friendly lifestyle, we tand to have a love/hate relationship with plastic. The convenience can’t be beat; but the toll that plastics take on the environment, our health, and the effects they have on entire ecosystems, is just too large to ignore.

We’re all stuck in this limbo, and at times, it feels absolutely overwhelming! That’s how I felt a few years ago when I happened upon Beth Terry’s blog, My Plastic-Free LIfe (formerly Fake Plastic Fish). Here’s a woman who decided to take it upon herself to reduce, and almost completely eliminate, all plastics from her life. That’s right, ALL plastics. That means everything from food storage containers, to shampoo bottles, to plastic grocery bags. Anything made from or packaged in plastic.

That was back in 2007. Fast-forward to this year, and Beth has published an awesome book outlining everything she’s learned over the years!

Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too is chock-full of information, stories, and practical tips to help us all move a little closer to the ideal plastic-free life.

Photo Credit: My Plastic Free Life

This book is seriously for everyone. If you’re just getting your feet wet and still learning the basics about the harmful effects of plastics, Beth’s easy-going, never intimidating, always encouraging voice breaks everything down to a fundamental, easy-to-understand level. She talks about everything from the history of plastics (did you know the first plastics were actually biodegradable?), to the different kinds of plastics (ever wonder what those little numbers on the bottom of your containers mean?), to some basic rules for plastic recycling (just because it has the triangular “chasing arrows” symbol on it, does NOT mean your container is recyclable!).

Photo Credit: My Plastic Free Life

If you’re like me, and have been researching and learning about the dangers of plastics for some time, taking small steps to curb your use and disposal of plastics, Plastic-Free is for us, as well. In her ever-inspiring manner, Beth challenges us to learn more, do more, and most importantly, feel more! Are you avoiding taking the challenge to track your plastic consumption for fear of feeling guilty and defeated? Beth encourages us to embrace those feelings and let them do their thing, in order for us to truly look at our plastic habit in the most objective way possible.

My favorite chapters? Gosh, if I could list every one of them, I would. But for the sake of this review, let’s just say that plastic bags, plastic water bottles, and personal care & household cleaning were the topics that hit closest to home for me. Beth’s blog is actually what inspired me to first start bringing my own reusable shopping bags on grocery trips back in 2009. I bought those first bags, but Beth shares a super simple tutorial in her book for making your own reusable cloth bag from an old T-shirt – yay for up-cycling!

Photo Credit: My Plastic Free Life

In her chapter on grocery shopping, Beth gives some invaluable tips on reducing your plastic consumption when shopping for produce, as well as a wonderful guide for how to store that produce without using plastic containers or bags. My favorite part of that chapter is the five or six recipes she shares for things like ketchup, mayo, and chocolate syrup – thereby eliminating any packaging altogether. And you know how much I love anything homemade!

Photo Credit: My Plastic Free Life

I think the single most inspiring aspect of Plastic-Free is its practical application for everyday life. Numerous quick tips are highlighted throughout the book, and at the end of each chapter, Beth includes an Action Items Checklist, encouraging us to choose items that feel right for us, as well as challenging us to do one thing on the list that seems a little more difficult. One of my personal challenge items is to put together a reusable take-out kit, instead of bringing our take-out home in those plastic or styrofoam containers. Baby steps, right?

Photo Credit: My Plastic Free Life

And just when you thought this book couldn’t get any cooler? It does – it so does! In keeping in line with her commitment to go plastic-free, Beth made sure the entire book was manufactured without the use of plastics – ANY plastics! The cover, the spine, even the glue are all 100% plastic-free! You can literally compost the whole book! Read more about the process here.

Plastic-Free has something for everyonebe it facts and figures to awaken something deep down inside you, or a witty story to inspire you to make a small change in your life, or an action plan to help get the whole family involved. This book is a must-have for every home library. It’s literally life changing!

To buy your very own copy of Plastic-Free, and to learn more about Beth Terry, please check out the links below:


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Sarah UmmYusuf is a former school teacher turned stay-at-home wife and mama with a passion for all things simple, natural, and homemade. She loves the natural world, and believes the solutions to many of the world’s ailments lie in nature. Her blog, , began as a way to document her family’s journey to a greener home, but has since become a thriving community and resource for those wishing to take small steps towards a more eco-friendly, natural and sustainable lifestyle. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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