Friday, July 12, 2013

Feel Good Friday - Beth Terry: My Plastic-free Life

As you enjoy this Feel Good Friday and get ready for your weekend to start, I hope you are sipping some water from your own, reusable cup. Why? Here's why.

In 2007, Oakland resident, Beth Terry read an article about plastic in the oceans that was accompanied with a picture of a dead bird whose stomach was full of plastic bottle caps, cigarette lighters and other items. That week she made a commitment to buy no new plastic which, over time has become a crusade.

Her blog, My Plastic-free Life, explains Beth's story in greater detail, shares valuable resources for living plastic free and invites all readers to take the Plastic Trash Challenge. In it, you collect the plastic you use in a week, take a photo, write down what all of it is and then answer questions about what could be reused or replaced with a non-plastic alternative. Your results are posted on her site to help keep you motivated and on track.

I kept track of my plastic use for two weeks (sorry no photos) and was properly horrified. From spinach in a bag, to yogurt in a tub to virtually everything in my bathroom - and ladies, I do mean everything - the amount of plastic in my life was shocking. And I thought I was pretty environmentally aware. I bring my bags to the store, have a reusable cup for my water and try to avoid items with excessive plastic packaging (Trader Joe's nectarines, I'm talking to you).

Awareness is the first step, but what comes next? Her book, Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too is full of stories and tips geared towards people at all stages of plastic usage. But what difference does one person reducing their plastic make? More than you think. Check out her talk about why personal changes matter: TEDx.

Beth and Britta
In it she'll let you know that Brita water filters are recyclable in Europe but not the US. When she called Brita to ask them to make it possible for people in the US to recycle their filters she was told Americans don't care. After starting a campaign and website then submitting a petition with 16,000 signatures, those of us living in the US and filtering our water with a Brita system now can recycle the filters.

This makes me think of a quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

So, you thoughtful, committed citizen you. What's next? Take the challenge, make a commitment to reducing the use of plastic in your life or just recycle your water filter. You'll help the oceans, the marine life and yourself!

You can find out more about Beth at her press page: and stay in the loop by liking My Plastic-Free Life on Facebook.

No comments: