Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Review Plastic Free How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and You Can Too

When I first stumbled upon Beth Terry’s blog My Plastic Free Life (formerly Fake Plastic Fish), I appreciated her trying to green her efforts and reduce waste but thought she was nuts for trying to get rid of all the plastic in her life because that’s what we have recycling for, right?



Well, four years later, I now know Beth is trying not to bring NEW plastic items in her life via plastic bottle, tube, tub, or bag (and surprisingly more stuff than I realized) and tries to find USED plastic alternatives if plastic is the only option such as a smart phone or a computer. I also now know that recycling isn’t always the answer to our trashy problems, but reducing and refusing may be.

I still think Beth Terry is nuts but now for an entirely different reason. We are friends and share the same sense of humor.

Beth Terry and I hanging out at Blogher10

I think it is important that you know I know the author and one of my tips is featured in the book before you read my review of Plastic Free How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and You Can Too by Beth Terry even though I will try to be as objective as I can in this book review.

While recovering from surgery, Beth Terry read an article about the large amount of plastic polluting the ocean – which is practically her West Coast backyard. Beth saw various items from her daily life in the photos. She decided to reduce and later remove those new disposable plastic items from her life. Beth started a blog called My Plastic Free Life (formerly known as Fake Plastic Fish) as she started her plastic free journey and took the rest of us along for the ride. Now her blog is a book and includes more details about the how, when, and whys of living a plastic free life.




Beth provided me an ebook review copy. Plastic Free is available for the Kindle and the Nook.  Husband surprised me with a hard copy of Plastic Free later. The most notable difference between the two is the Kindle (and Nook) versions of the book is the ebooks have links that are a click away to the plastic free resources Beth mentions in her book. With the dead tree version you have to type the links into your Web browser by hand. Careful, don't break a fingernail when typing.

Oh, and the hardback copy of the book was printed and bound with little to no plastic in the physical book. Yes, Beth is that committed to living plastic free. So I learned a little lesson about modern bookbinding  through the hard copy of the book. Whoo!

Pros
  • Plastic Free starts conversations just by carrying it around which may or may not be what Beth Terry intended when she wrote it. Although to be cute, several people pointed out that I read Plastic Free on a plastic iPad.
  • Plastic Free explains that there are different types of plastic, what each is typically used for, and some of the difficulty in recycling/upcycling/downcycling different types of plastic before getting into the hows and whys of her reducing/replacing its use.
  • Plastic Free has tips throughout the book for plastic free replacements or practices, which can reduce trash and save money even if you don’t want to live an extreme plastic free life like Beth.
  • Plastic Free isn’t all green gloom and doom. Beth is funny and is quick to point out when she got overwhelmed, frustrated, or drove herself a little bit crazy and the sometimes humorous result such as a carbonated red wine volcano erupting in her kitchen or her Flaming Hot Cheeto Cross Country Road Trip.
  • Even though some plastic free alternatives clash with my personal practice of buying the largest size possible to reduce my overall household waste, for example buying vinegar in a smaller glass bottle verses buying the one gallon plastic jug, I'm more aware of the plastic we have and allow in our home. Inadvertently, we've reduced our use for certain items too. 

Cons

  • Plastic Free does not have a traditional covered book spine and some might think it is fragile. My copy has bounces around in my tote bag without injury like any other regular book. (Hey, that's the only way I make sure my section gets shoved under the nose of every person I know.)
  • While there are a lot of tips and how tos in the book and a plastic free reference guide on My Plastic Free Life, some readers might not want to do a search on My Plastic Free Life to find out what Beth does for dishwashing detergent. In other words, Mom, if you still have questions after reading Beth's book, you know my email address. I told you Beth uses a phosphate free dishwashing detergent in a cardboard box, remember?
  • Some of the extremes Beth goes to or things she gives up may not be available or desirable for everyone. *raises hand* However, that’s no reason to stop reading Plastic Free because there are some good ideas in there (*cough* like my tip in the book) that you might like better if you give it a try. For example, Husband swore up and down he preferred our BPA free plastic containers for leftovers. I got some small Pyrex containers for Christmas one year and gave them a try. Guess what? Even though we're clumsy, we like the glass containers over plastic because they doesn't stain and need to eventually be replaced.  I don't have any worries about plastic in the microwave either.
You can buy Plastic Free How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and You Can Too by Beth Terry  from Amazon, from BuyGreen who guarantees to ship without plastic packaging, and for a little bit more you can buy a signed copy of Plastic Free directly from My Plastic Free Life to benefit the Plastic Pollution Coalition.  

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.