How to Give Up Plastic, a book by Will McCallum, is a guide to the problem of single-use plastic and how to solve it. Our throwaway culture has led to a crisis that is killing birds, destroying sea life, and is even poisoning humans. The first step, as with anything, is awareness. Which is why this book exists.
Step 1: Awareness
I was worried this book was going to promote the idea that it’s consumers, not corporations, that are at fault for plastic pollution. While consumers play a part, it is the corporations that are the root of the problem.
Thankfully the book doesn’t go this route. It carefully explains the issue of plastic pollution and its causes before it even gets to any advice on how to give up plastic. Most people who pick up this book will likely have done so because they are already worried about pollution, but it is still useful for it to provide context. Knowing why it is important will help the reader motivate themselves to actively go out and give up plastic.
Step 2: Doing the Thing
The book then moves the reader to the next step: giving up plastic at the home. It breaks things down to different areas of the home and gives ideas on how to cut down or give up plastic.
Most people will be unable to give up plastic completely, and the book acknowledges this. At the very least, you can think about whether you really need to use a plastic product and make an informed decision, and also not judge and condemn others who aren’t also reducing their use of plastic.
Step 3: Spreading the Word
The book does encourage you to talk about it, however. Not condescendingly, but just talk about what you are doing and why you are doing it. This may encourage people to follow suit if they are interested in what they hear.
The book then moves into advice on getting the word out further. By talking to your workplace and asking for new policies, or going further and starting campaigns to try and get the country to change its policies.
Step 4: Working Together
What the book really shows you is that one person cannot change the world alone. But they can make a start. That start may turn into a butterfly wing that gets more people involved. And one day, the companies responsible may finally be called to account and forced to minimise plastic waste.
Until then, you could start by reading this book. Or figuring out how to use less plastic. Or even dive write into a campaign that is working towards changing things for the better.
It’s a start at least.