I Quit Plastics and you can too is a brand new book about delving into a non-plastic lifestyle. I have to admit it’s not what I was expecting when I ordered the book. Well, some of it was exactly what I’d envisioned — inspiration for tackling a non-plastic approach, for example. What I wasn’t expecting was a Succulent Sorbet recipe.
Kate Nelson is founder of the nonprofit Save the Mermaids, which teaches adults and children about ocean pollution. Her love of and concern for the sea and the earth runs through the book — and she’s convincing.
In 1964, the plastic industry produced 15 million tons of plastic annually. In 2014, the annual tonnage was 311 million. By 2050, Kate explains, there will be more plastic (by weight) than fish in the sea. Beyond environmental considerations, she also explains how plastic leaches toxins and how this takes a toll on our health, in both the food we eat and the products we put on our bodies.
Kate’s approach isn’t one of doom and gloom, though. Not at all. She explains, “This lifestyle is creative and enriching, not a horrible chore.” So rather than view it as a sacrifice, she sees it as a more authentic, mindful way to live.
My favorite part of the book is a little section called “This versus that.” In it, Kate gives a few specific scenarios that demonstrate how you would navigate away from plastics in your everyday life. Let’s say you need some basil. She lays out the pros and cons of purchasing some at the store vs. buying a basil plant. Kate’s not preachy or pedantic, though. In fact, she’s all about creating change by example, and she’s gentle with readers (and their friends and family) who have yet to be convinced. She certainly is a good example herself, in public — through her studies and work — and in private. Kate stores any waste that she’s responsible for that is not recyclable and which would end up in a landfill in a large mason jar. At the end of the year, she says, she can see all the trash she couldn’t avoid. (I’m afraid they don’t make mason jars big enough to hold what I would currently dispose of.)
Now about that sorbet recipe. I Quit Plastics isn’t so much concerned with our carrying a cup for refills to the coffee shop (though that’s important) as it is about all of us moving away from disposable packaging, processed food, and throw-away culture towards a lifestyle that will reduce our carbon footprints. And so there are recipes for food (I’m eager to try the Sticky Date Porridge!), body care (including a sunscreen and aloe hand sanitizer), laundry (we use the same laundry soap recipe), and cleaning products (I’m going to try sticky residue remover this week).
I’m so grateful there are Kate Nelsons in the world, and I’m happy she wrote this book. I don’t keep many books on hand (I prefer to use the library!), but I do keep a collection of nonfiction books that I return to over and over again through the years. I Quit Plastics is joining that collection!
You might also enjoy:
Attainable Sustainable, the lost art of self-reliant living by Kris Bordessa
The Conscious Closet, The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good, by Elizabeth L. Cline
Fewer, Better Things by Glenn Adamson