My wait for a copy of Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man at the library finally ended last week.  I’m only 70 pages into the book, but I’m comfortable recommending this read.  In fact, go to your library website and request it now (maybe you won’t have to wait as long as I did).  Then come back here for more.

Book requested?  Okay.  Colin’s book inspired this post, and will, perhaps, inspire other posts if I get around to writing them.

I found this bit on plastic particularly horrifying:

“A thousand miles off the coast of California, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there is a swirling soup of floating trash twice the size of the continental United States.  [It] contains six times as much plastic, by weight, as bio-matter.”


“In the North Pacific alone, an estimated 100,000 sea turtles and sea mammals, a million seabirds, and countless fish starve to death each year after plastic blocks their digestive tracks.”  (Emphasis added.)

Plastic wreaks havoc not only on the environment, but also on human health.  (I won’t go into detail on that here.  If you want to know more, one possible read is Slow Death by Rubber Duck.  I haven’t read it, but Rebecca reviewed it here.)

Beth Terry at Fake Plastic Fish dramatically reduced her plastic consumption.  Click here to read her guide for some great places to start.

A recent TreeHugger article lays out an argument for eliminating disposable plastic while acknowledging that there may be some situations where plastic IS the best material for the task.  It took me forever to find that article again, but I did it for you because it’s worth a read, so click the link up there.

This doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition.  One change I’ve been focusing on over the past several weeks is buying more food (food that I would normally get in plastic bags) from bulk bins so I can reuse the rather large number of plastic bags I’ve accumulated.

So, what will you do to reduce your plastic waste?  See Beth Terry’s guide (link above) if you need inspiration, and then share your action step here.

Quotes from No Impact Man by Colin Beavan, p. 54.


  1. Rebecca says:

    I totally agree. Plastic sucks and Colin Rocks!

    There is one plastic product that I own however, which is far superior to its wooden predecessor, and that’s my Trex decking. It NEVER needs to be painted or stained, it gets no slivers, and it doesn’t rot. It’s totally amazing stuff. But since Trex is made from recycled plastic bags and re-claimed sawdust, I figure it’s actually taking plastic out of the waste stream and not putting it in, so maybe it counts as good plastic (if there can be such a thing).

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      That does sound like pretty neat deck material, and until we completely eliminate plastic bags, it’s nice to know that some of them are doing something other than harming animals and fish.

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