By Catherine Moran
I won a copy of Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry during an ecoetsy twitter chat, and I am so glad I did! I’d stumbled upon Terry’s blog awhile back, and it was a revelation. Living without plastic! Is it even possible? The answer is “yes!”
As someone who had started to peruse My Plastic-Free Life more and more often, I wondered what more Terry could pack into a book that she didn’t have on her website. I was quite impressed; Terry managed to keep the book from being too derivative of her blog, and she included some new and expanded ideas for readers of the book.
Let’s start with the book itself: “The jacket is uncoated, the thread is made of cotton, and the boards and spine are exposed.” Even the glue is plastic-free!
And, even more amazing is that the book itself is compostable, though you won’t want to get rid of it. As a girl going green and a serious book lover, all I can say is: major swoon!
Terry’s book doesn’t just tell you ways in which to reduce your plastic consumption by not buying things: she actively suggests ways to improve your life overall. For example, there’s a whole section on how to store fresh produce. Score! I can’t keep track of which veggies need to go in brown bags on my counter and which go in airtight containers in my fridge (and everything in between). There are recipes for homemade goodies like mustard, chocolate syrup, and yogurt. There are recipes for practical goodies — like shampoo, face scrubs, and bath soap. Not only do you reduce plastic waste by making things at home, but you feel self-sufficient, and save a lot of money. Take that, The Man!
What I liked most about Terry’s book is that she is in no way condescending or preachy. Just when you’re starting to feel panicked that there are way too many things you will have to cut out of your life, or overwhelmed at the perceived hopelessness of it all, Terry tells you to stop and breathe. And not to worry. Whoa! The author of a book about going plastic-free tells you not to stress about going plastic-free! She reminds the reader that she’s been at this for years, learning what works for her and what doesn’t, and which companies are good for recycling their products, and which companies aren’t. She wants you to take this book as a guide, and try to do what you can. Start off small (get rid of those one-use plastic bags, folks, I beg you!) and take baby steps forward.
At the very least, Plastic-Free will make you more aware of just how much of our lives are encased in clear sheets of plastic. It’s fascinating, and devastating. But if you are intrigued at all at the prospect of living a greener life, this is a good book to start with. Terry will help you start small, and you’ll feel like you’re on your way to being a green warrior. For a quick plastic-free lifestyle guide, check out this guide from Terry’s blog.
Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.