How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time by Will McCallum is a scary, eye-opening, informative book that outlines the world’s use of plastics (which is in almost everything - including our clothing), the impact plastics are having on the environment, and suggestions to reduce the amount of plastic we use each day. Will McCallum is at the heart of the anti-plastics movement for the past three years and is Head of Oceans at Greenpeace UK. In his book, the author mostly focuses on single-use plastics which mainly include items like plastic bags, straws, beverage cups, and plastic packaging, often taking centuries to breakdown.
I found this book to be both educational and at the same time depressing. While reading, I was getting overwhelmed learning about how much plastic each of us use and dispose of each day. The first 50 pages of this book provides numerous examples of how we are harming our planet through the plastic wastage that is littering our earth and seeping into our lakes and oceans. The next 20 pages of the book contains stories of hope and success. And the remainder of the book is comprised of ideas on how to reduce plastic use in many areas of our lives, including the bathroom, the bedroom, the kitchen, the workplace, and on the go.
I am aware of the concept of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, but this book tacked an additional “R” onto the phrase for me…. Reject. Reject the one-time use plastic bags that are automatically given when you make a purchase. Bring your own re-useable cloth bags or carry the items in your arms. Reject the plastic straw the server gives with your drink. Bring your own reusable beverage container to the restaurant for your drink. This book provides countless suggestions to reduce plastic use at individual and global levels.
While the author acknowledges that not all plastics can be eliminated, after reading How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time, I feel more informed and am prepared to commit to taking the first steps to reduce my personal plastic waste. Will McCallum isn’t ‘preachy’ and ‘demanding’ but reminds the reader that every little bit helps, and for each individual who starts small, a giant step is taken towards saving our planet.