Plastic Purge: How to Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out of Your Body, and Help Save the Sea Turtles!

Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 8:48 am

In brief

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SanClements has convinced me. Plastic is our frenemy!

Take a moment, look around you and notice the endless amount of plastic that pervades our society. As I write, I am sitting at my plastic-topped office desk, on my plastic stuffed office chair, typing on my plastic keyboard and looking through my plastic glasses at my plastic monitor. I can see plastic in my cellphone, lunch box, shoes, pen, earbuds and in the buttons on my sweater. These are just the items in my line of sight. What plastic lurks behind me or just down the hall?

It is mind-blowing to really take note of how much plastic we come into contact with on a daily basis, and then wonder where it goes when we are done with it. Nearly 300 metric tons of plastic is produced globally each year, yet only 10 percent is actually recycled. Did you know there is a Great Pacific Garbage Patch twice the size of the U.S. floating around the Pacific Ocean that is full of plastic, or that the Great Lakes are being inundated with those teensy plastic microbeads found in our favorite beauty products?

Plastic is literally everywhere and in his new book, Michael SanClements encourages readers to take a long, hard look at their plastic consumption. He uses wit and a casual style of writing to engage readers in a frank discussion about plastic. Entertaining stories, like the introduction of women's nylons and the rise of Tupperware, make his work fun and accessible to a variety of readers. He is informative without being preachy, and upfront about the keen advantages of plastics, especially in medicine and science. He acknowledges that it is unrealistic to completely eliminate plastic from your life, but his goal is to help readers identify the environmental and health risks associated with plastic, and to start on a path toward eliminating the plastics that are unsafe or unnecessary (individually wrapped cheese slices anyone?)

SanClements, a scientist at the National Ecological Observatory Network who holds a PhD in ecology, uses concrete facts and cites many sources and studies to back up his work, which melts a librarian's heart. (His bibliography is 19 pages long!) If you have even one environmentally-conscious bone in your body, you will get something out of this book, plus it's a fun way to inform yourself about the good, the bad and the ugly ways of plastic-- and maybe it will help save the sea turtles, too!