Cover Image: Plastic Free

Plastic Free

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Member Reviews

When I was in graduate school for environmental policy, a professor assigned the class a questionnaire to determine what our carbon footprint was. I thought I was going to nail it and was shocked when my result showed otherwise. I’ve since realized there continues to be plenty of room for “go green” improvement in my life, particularly when it comes to single-use plastics. But, as the author states: “Making change can start with awareness, and a resolve to do things different.” 

I really enjoyed learning about Plastic Free July, something I had heard of before but didn’t know the history or ins and outs of. I’ve often envied zero-waste influencers’ abilities to make the movement look effortless, as I tend to struggle in my own transformation. In Plastic Free, however, the author actually highlights the challenges associated with those changes, making it more relatable and accurate for an average person like me. Plastic Free has a lot of great information about actually going plastic-free, woven into stories and thoughtful reflections on the author’s personal experiences.

Because of my own studies in environmentalism, I was intrigued by the outreach communications aspect of Plastic Free July: social media campaigns, community involvement, word of mouth, and most importantly, what the overall messaging was (and is). Another part of the book that I’d like to mention is the author’s thoughts on going plastic-free during and post-COVID. I’ll be curious to see the impacts of the pandemic on the movement going forward. 

A really thought-provoking, solid book---one of the better ones I’ve read about the plastic-free movement.
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Plastic Free is a great combination of real-life stories, facts, tips, and an inspiring message of focusing on the positives, sharing solutions, and doing what we can. This non-fiction book focuses on plastic as a symptom of some of the broader global problems like human impact on the environment and climate change. It does an amazing job on presenting the history on the use of plastics and ecological terminology that has become more and more frequent on daily life. The information made known is clear and interesting, regardless on if you see yourself as an environmentalist or not.

Something that I particularly enjoyed was the acknowledgment of cultural knowledge and indigenous sustainability, as well as how the book touches on privilege and the fact that people should do what their situation allows them to. It covers the problem of downcycling, perceived obsolesce, behavioral economics and other themes that relate to society and pollution. It also gives solid advice and ideas on where to start your plastic free journey.

I think the multi-format integration of text, quotes and real-life examples does a great job balancing out, although I do have to say I found some of the testimonials repetitive and it was a bit too long for me.

I didn’t know about Plastic Free July before reading this book, and I really appreciate how it opened my eyes to so many resources and tips that I can use on my daily life from now on. I liked reading about the author’s life and how they became interested in plastic, started a movement, and proved change is a constant thing. The overall message of community collaboration and having people from all over the world acting is a source of motivation, and I agree that “small wins inspire future changes”. 

My favorite chapter of the book was the postscript, where the author talks about the impact of COVID-19 on the Plastic Free movement and briefly questions what will change moving forward. It felt like an honest reflection and I found it really interesting.

Ultimately, Plastic Free is a great book and I would highly recommend. It is completely relevant today and will continue to be so.

Thank you to NetGalley and Columbia University Press for an advanced e-copy of the book.
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This book was super good. It was super original and I flew through it. It didn't feel like anything I've read in the past. Can't wait to read more from the author!!
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This was one of the much better books on the topic of plastic being bad for the environment. The author talks about her childhood and how she became interested in being an environmentalist and someone who cares about the future of the planet. Some of her personal stories are a lot more interesting and why she wants to get other people to become just as passionate as her without sounding like a lunatic. There was actually some humor despite the subject matter, but it was definitely a thought provoking read. I definitely have tried to use less plastic products or reuse them as much as I can, but what then :-(

A better book on this topic and a must if you are into climate change and saving the environment.

Thanks to Netgalley, Rebecca Prince Ruiz and Columbia University Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Available: 12/8/20
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I love reading books about environmentalism, but sometimes it's hard to sift through all the bad books to find good ones. This book was much more interesting than a lot of the books that I have read on this subject. The author managed to really bring the subject to life!
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I'm sometimes reluctant to read "environmental action" books because I find them pretty dry (as much as I care about the subject matter), but I was delighted by this one from the start - it opens with one of the author's personal history, where she grew up and why she's so passionate about the environment. The book continues in this vein for much of its page count. I always feel more "anchored" by non fiction when it's being told by someone who's lived what they're talking about. Interestingly, books about climate change often lack this, because the authors haven't "suffered" the more devastating effects of it yet. Whereas plastic consumption and plastic pollution are facts of life for everyone - even if not everyone has woken up to it yet.

I wouldn't say I learned anything new and mind-blowing from this book (I work for a marine sustainability-focused organisation and I'm already doing what I can to reduce my plastic consumption) but I'm sure it'll be enlightening for a lot of readers; and it's written in such a charming, engaging way. But reading the book really helped to make me feel that my individual actions are contributing to a greater difference. If governments won't step up - I think I'm much more pessimistic about this than the authors are - then it has to start with all of us.

(With thanks to Columbia University Press and NetGalley for an ebook in exchange for an honest review)
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Strong Start, Your Mileage May Vary On Ending. I gotta admit, as an American I'd never heard of Plastic Free July before seeing this book on NetGalley. (And yes, since I am writing this review on July 21, 2020 - the day after it hit NetGalley - and it doesn't publish until December 8, 2020, this is certainly an Advance Review Copy, with all of the things that generally entails.) But the description of how Prince-Ruiz started the organization sounded promising. And the text of the book, for the first half - two thirds or so, showed exactly that promise. Someone deciding independently to choose to do something that could make a difference and work to convince her friends and family to do the same... in the age of social media. The back part of the book, where the organization shifts from voluntary action to political action - which is ultimately *always* at the point of a sword (in Ye Olden Times) or gun (in the modern era) - is more problematic and is where the book will likely be seen as much more divisive. I try to keep my own politics out of my reviews to as much a degree as possible, so I'll simply note that through this section the voluntary actions the author describes are commendable, and I've actually supported a few of them myself, but the less-than-voluntary actions... any time politics gets involved, you invite problems. Ultimately a great look at various things we all can and arguably should do, marred by its descent into politics. Recommended.
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