Plastic: A Toxic Love Story ~ Book Review by Shane Shirley Smith

Book Review by Shane Shirley Smith


I just finished reading the Introduction to Susan Freinkel’s newest book, Plastic: A Toxic Love Story and I feel empowered.  Susan Freinkel’s new book, Plastic, is a must read to add to your green reading list.  Let me rephrase that, Susan Freinkel’s newest book is a must read to add to ANY reading list!  No matter where you are on your walk on the path to green living, just starting out or already far along on your adventure, you can feel empowered to create change too.

“The first step to creating change is understanding, and the first step to understanding anything to do with plastic is reading Susan Freinkel’s compelling, much-needed, and truly brilliant book.”
—David de Rothschild, Leader of the Plastiki Expedition


Plastic built the modern world. Where would we be without bike helmets, baggies, toothbrushes, and pacemakers? But a century into our love affair with plastic, we’re starting to realize it’s not such a healthy relationship. Plastics draw on dwindling fossil fuels, leach harmful chemicals, litter landscapes, and destroy marine life. As journalistSusan Freinkel points out in this engaging and eye-opening book, we’re nearing a crisis point. We’ve produced as much plastic in the past decade as we did in the entire twentieth century. We’re drowning in the stuff, and we need to start making some hard choices.

“A must-read, and a fun-read, for anyone who wonders how our society became so plastics-saturated and who wants to do something about it.”z88;
—Annie Leonard, author of The Story of Stuff

“Simple objects sometimes tell tangled stories, and the story of plastics is riddled with paradoxes. We enjoy an unprecedented level of material abundance and yet it often feels impoverishing, like digging through a box packed with Styrofoam peanuts and finding nothing else there. We take natural substances created  millions of years, fashion them into products designed for a few minutes’ use, and then return them to the planet as litter that we’ve engineered to never go away. We enjoy plastics-based technologies that can save lives as never before but that also pose insidious threats to human health.  We bury in landfills the same kinds of energy-rich molecules that we’ve scoured the far reaches of the earth to find and excavate. We send plastic waste overseas to become the raw materials for finished products that are sold back to us. We’re embroiled in pitched politicalfights in which plastic’s sharpest critics and staunchest defenders make the same case: these materials are too valuable to waste.” – Susan Freinkel, Plastic: A Toxic Love Story

Plastic: A Toxic Love Story Now Avilable

“Susan Freinkel’s book exponentially increased my desirous love and my hate for plastic. What a great read—rigorous, smart, inspiring, and as seductive as plastic itself.” —Karim Rashid, Designer

Here are just a few of the fascinating, and often startling, revelations in Plastic: A Toxic Love Story:

  • In 1960, the average American consumed 30 pounds of plastics a year.  Today, just 50 years later, Americans consume on average 300 pounds a year.
  • We’ve produced nearly as much plastic in the first ten years of the new millennium, as in the entire preceding century.
  • All Americans now carry traces of dozens of synthetic chemicals in their bodies – including fire retardants, bactericides, pesticides, plasticizers, solvents, heavy metals, waterproofing agents, stain repellents, Teflon and other compounds. Even newborns harbor chemicals – on average 200, according to one study.
  • Plastic debris is now found in even the most remote places, like the Antarctic Ocean.
  • Though most plastic can be recycled, almost none is. Only plastic beverage bottles and milk jugs, #1 and # 2 plastics are recycled in any great numbers. Even so, nearly three-fourths never get into the recycling stream, and instead wind up in landfill or incinerator
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“I have rarely, if ever, come across a book that I would describe as “perfect.” However, after finishing Plastic, I was convinced that the appellation might well be accurate, not only for American Chestnut, but possibly for Plastic as well.” –James Arnett, The Brooklyn Rail

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Shane Shirley Smith: Environmental Booty Blog You can join our green living online community, visit my blog,  subscribe to our postsdownload our community toolbar or Tweet with me on Twitter to stay in touch!  – Shane*