8 Books To Guide You Through Your Plastic-Free Journey

Let's combat plastic pollution, one book at a time 📚

We all know about the massive impact of plastic on the environment as well as our health. It’s all around us, from product packaging to our sunscreen and makeup products, in the oceans ingested by innocent species and almost everywhere we look. But the scariest part is – plastics have made their way into our food. Plus, this article by WWF says there will be more plastic waste than fish in the oceans by 2050. It’s a consistent reminder to opt for a plastic-free lifestyle sooner than later.

plastic-free meme - avoid plastic packaging this plastic free july

Such news about the impact of plastic on the environment is deeply saddening, but there is also good happening around us. For example, by taking up the Plastic Free July Challenge, a lot of people are coming together to create a difference by opting for life without plastic. So, if you are also looking to curb your plastic footprint but don’t know where to start, then don’t worry! We have got you covered.

The best books to read when starting a plastic-free journey

Here’s a list of the best books to read that will not only inspire a plastic-free lifestyle but also guide you all along your plastic-free journey.

1. American Plastic by Jeffrey L. Meikle

American Plastic - books on a plastic free-lifestyle
American Plastic / Amazon

Jeffrey L. Meikle tells a fascinating story about how plastic has taken over the world since the day it first came into existence. The book covers everything from the very invention of plastic to how we gradually moved on from barbie dolls to plastic in vehicles we drive and the entire consumer culture associated with plastic. American Plastic, a winner of the 1996 Dexter Prize from the Society for the History of Technology and a 1996 Choice Outstanding Academic Book, is amongst the most significant works around plastics and surely a must-read if you are looking forward to a plastic-free lifestyle.

“A splendid history of plastic. The book is authoritative, thorough, interdisciplinary, and intriguing. . . [Meikle] traces the course of plastics from 19th–century celluloid and the fist wholly synthetic bakelite, in 1907, through the proliferation of compounds (vinyls, acrylics, polystyrene, nylon, etc.) and recent ecological concerns. . . .Interested readers of whatever predisposition will likely enjoy this comprehensive and thoughtful treatise.” – Publishers Weekly

2. Plastic Ocean by Charles Moore & Cassandra Phillips

Plastic Ocean / Amazon

Do you know what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is? It is the world’s largest collection of floating trash swirling in the Pacific ocean, which is now bigger than France, Germany, and Spain combined. In his book Plastic Ocean, Charles Moore, environmentalist and author, revisits the time when he first found the GPGP, when he was sailing from Hawaii to California. The book takes you through the lifecycle of plastic and the shocking effects it can have not just on the planet but also on one’s health. The book is an eye-opener for everyone on how we need to urgently combat the plastic problem.

“The author is an impassioned, fiercely inquisitive writer, detailing the many unorthodox ways he’s managed to get these issues into the news and in peer-reviewed science journals. His account is chilling, but with an underlying message of optimism: If human behaviors change, we can still save the oceans, and ourselves. Fast-paced and electrifying, Moore’s story is “gonzo science” at its best.” – Kirkus Reviews

3. Plastic Soup by Michiel Roscam Abbing

books on plastic-free lifestyle - Plastic Soup

These days plastic pollution around the world has acquired a new name – Plastic Soup, and we’re all in it. Michiel Abbings sincerely talks about the causes of the plastic problem in the first half and focuses on possible solutions, including global initiatives to reduce the impact of plastic on the environment and simple steps to plastic-free living. So, if you are looking to understand the scale of plastic pollution, Plastic Soup An Atlas of Ocean Pollution is amongst the best motivational books to steer you toward a plastic-free lifestyle. And, it’s worth a mention that the photos and graphics are just astonishing!

“Brings the problem of single-use plastics to life with shocking photography…The book shows just how widespread and deeply ingrained the problem is.” – Independent

4. Plastic Free by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz & Joanna Atherfold Finn

books on Plastic Free lifestyle

The Australian author, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, took a challenge along with a small group of people to have a plastic-free lifestyle for a month. That small challenge has turned into a global initiative, which we now know as Plastic-Free July. Plastic Free shares inspiring details about how the movement against plastic waste started and also, important lessons learned along the way. This book is a perfect example of how small steps taken by a group of individuals can make a significant difference. It is most definitely among the best books to read if you are looking forward to a life without plastic.

Some people feel overwhelmed by the environmental state of affairs and wait for politicians or manufacturers to change; others, like Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, take matters into their own hands, starting with their own lives. This is the success story of a global movement. It proves that change is in consumers’ hands, and that individual action has more power than ever. Use this book to be inspired, or, better, use it as a template to change the world in your own way! – Bea Johnson

5. Life Without Plastic by Jay Sinha & Chantal Plamondon

life without plastic - book
Life Without Plastic / Amazon

What started as a struggle to find plastic alternatives for their newborn, soon turned into a plastic-free journey for the author’s family. The book Life Without Plastic explores the couple’s journey towards plastic-free living and simplifies it for the readers in small, actionable steps. It is a perfect guide to starting a plastic-free journey with changes you can make at grassroots levels. We recommend it if you want to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle.

“Life Without Plastic has given me hope for what is possible in eliminating this toxic threat from our lives. I’m much closer to my goal of a plastic free life, owing to this wonderful book.” – Ed Begley, Jr.

6. Living Without Plastic by Brigette Allen & Christine Wong

living without plastic - books on plastic-free lifestyle
living without plastic / ethosnz.com

Imagining a life without plastic can be next to impossible today, given how dependent we are on plastic; be it the coffee cup, cling wraps, or simply bottled water. Whether you are a beginner or already practicing a plastic-free lifestyle, the book Living Without Plastic brings you more than 100 easy swaps that you can make in your home, in your beauty routine, while traveling, and on special occasions. You will find alternatives to all kinds of plastics, even the ones you didn’t know existed, like in chewing gum or the fabric of your favorite T-shirt. So, brace yourself ’cause you are in for some interesting realizations!

An eye-opening guide on how to lessen one’s dependence on plastics. The authors make a strong case that consumers can’t recycle their way out of plastic’s deleterious effects on the environment, so a total rethink of habits is necessary. . . . This is a clarion, convincing wake-up call to the scope of the global plastic problem and what readers can do about it” – Publishers Weekly

7. How To Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum

How to give up plastic - book
How to give up plastic / Amazon

Will McCallum has been leading the fight against plastic pollution for the last three years with the global Greenpeace movement. In his book, How To Give Up Plastic, he shares all his tips and tricks for plastic-free living. Learn to spot single-use plastics room by room and find alternatives to a greener, plastic-free lifestyle. Read eye-opening statistics around plastic waste and find ways to contribute to the anti-plastic movement yourself; while you also inspire others around you to opt for a plastic-free lifestyle.

When the first plastic bag literally launched 53 years ago, our planet entered the unholy Age of the Plasticene. Microplastics in our clothing? Individually wrapped everything? It’s no small exaggeration to say this book changed the way I think. It is a welcome corrective, a plangent and necessary call to arms” – Florence Williams

8. Plastic-Free by Beth Terry

books on Plastic-free living
Plastic-free / Amazon

Beth Terry shares her story of becoming a plastic-free lifestyle advocate in this book. Learn about how the author began her journey towards plastic-free living; including the changes she made to reduce the amount of plastics she was using on a daily basis. Borrow tips and tricks for reducing your plastic consumption and do it without sacrificing the things you love. Plastic-Free is undoubtedly a good read for anyone who wants to try plastic-free living and opt for a more sustainable lifestyle while doing so. Moreover, the author takes her goal of plastic-free living super seriously. So, the book is not just named plastic-free; it is, in fact, plastic-free!

“[Beth Terry] gives us 342 pages of lectures, advice and examples. Bring your own utensils to fast-food outlets. Use solid shampoo bars, and wash clothes with soap nuts. Make your own cleaning products, cosmetics, sodas. Get a reusable dry-cleaning bag. don’ton’t even think about bottled watIt’sIt’s all really, really, really earnest, and yet . it’sit’s also practical and hopeful, with a kind of cheerleading charm. you’veu’ve gotta love the brown paper dust jacket, reminiscent of how they used to sell Penthouse.” – Washington Post

There are plenty of ways to go plastic-free. You can make small adjustments, such as using metal utensils instead of plastic cutlery; or you can try big changes, like going on a plant-based diet or completely zero waste. In either case, there’s no reason to jump in feet first without a good guide – which is what these motivational books are for.

Happy Reading!

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