By Michael SanClements
St. Martin’s Griffin , $16.99, 238 pages
In Plastic Purge: How to Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out of Your Body, and Help Save the Sea Turtles! author Michael SanClements contends that plastic is so plentiful as to be invisible in our daily lives.
Try making no plastic waste for two weeks, as the author tried to.
The idea that plastic is bad is not new. While plastic makes medical miracles possible, it also pollutes the landscape in the form of plastic single-use water bottles, plastic bags, and much, much more. It can also make us sick. Chemicals, not just BPA, can leech into our systems, and there are instances where the cost outweighs the benefit regarding this material.
“Make wise choices about the plastic in your life.”
What stands out about this book is the highly comprehensible way SanClements breaks down plastics into what he calls “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” He doesn’t advocate a complete boycott of plastics; instead he encourages awareness of the chemicals around us, identifying which are most likely to hurt us, while encouraging healthy eating, creating less waste, and being aware of our choices in the plastic world around us. Once you see and truly comprehend the problem, you’ll never see a plastic water bottle or its effect on the earth and the human body in the same way again.
SanClements has a casual but impassioned tone that works effectively for this topic. He builds a compelling argument around the cost/benefit of certain types of plastics and presents a relatively even-handed look at how and why plastic has become the go-to product in recent years. The book, while heavily science-based, remains approachable and never bogs down with excessive technical jargon. Plastic Purge should be mandatory reading for our plastic-addicted culture, especially since it hits an even note of demanding awareness as a way of building change.
Reviewed by Axie Barclay