We've all heard some of the dangers: plastic grocery bags find their way into our oceans and kill marine life. BPA, a chemical used to make hard, clear plastic, is bad for our health. And toxins leach into our food from the chemical used to make plastic pliable (think cling wrap).
The solution seems easy, right? Simply give up plastic!
Here's the problem ... plastic is everywhere!! It's pretty difficult, if not impossible, to get through a day without encountering this pervasive material.
I recently had the pleasure of reading Plastic Purge by Michael SanClements. In this book, the author talks to us as though he were having a casual conversation with friends. He helps us understand plastic and offers practical tips for reducing it in today's world ... tips which don't ask that we eliminate it completely but rather eliminate the harmful versions.
The book begins with a brief history. I found it fascinating that plastic actually had good and noble beginnings. Readers will learn how it is produced, the complications involved in recycling it, and even how Tupperware played a large role in our current use.
A section entitled The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Plastics gets very interesting. Here I learned that some uses of plastic actually benefit us. For example, it is used to make defibrillators and MRIs, both of which can save lives. It also helps reduce the weight of planes, giving them better fuel efficiency. But not all plastics are created equal.
Some plastics are just plain bad. Phthalates, found in products like shower curtains and rubber duckies, have been implicated in serious health issues; most notably, abnormalities such as hypospadias, a birth defect where the urethra forms incorrectly in baby boys.
The ugly side of plastic is how it affects our environment and, consequently, our lives. The author talks about the value of nature and how it is in jeopardy. He then talks about plastic's contribution to flooding in developing countries and how clogged storm drains and pipes have caused the loss of life both through drowning and the spread of diseases (especially those transmitted by the mosquito which breeds in standing water). Closer to home, plastic trash found in the Great Lakes is being ingested by fresh-water fish. That fish is finding its way to our dinner tables.
The last part of the book (my favorite), entitled Time to Purge Some Ugly Plastic! offers ideas for eliminating unnecessary plastic from our lives. Readers will learn why visiting a farmer's market may cut the amount of BPA in your body significantly and how we can keep produce fresh without plastic bags.
When a plastic container is the only option at the grocery store, the author teaches us how to minimize the impact. He offers suggestions to eliminate plastic in our personal hygiene products and even offers an easy recipe for toothpaste.
If you have children, you won't want to miss Chapter 16 where Mr. SanClements talks about children's products. You'll be amazed at the number of items, designed for kids, that contain plastic. The author speaks about why this is a problem and offers solutions.
Dog owners will enjoy a section on how to deal with poop. And, pet owners might be surprised to learn that their animal's favorite treat could be adding plastic to our landfills.
Plastic Purge addresses a serious problem in a down-to-earth way and offers us practical solutions. I am happy to have this book in my library and gladly recommend it for yours.
I received a copy of "Plastic Purge" in order to write this review. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and reflect my honest opinion of the material reviewed.