East Bay woman strives to live a plastic-free life

Only on 7

The "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" is twice the size of Texas; it's a collection of marine pollution, mostly people's plastic trash that is located within the North Pacific Gyre. It's one of many areas of concentrated debris in the world's oceans, drawn there by currents. Beth Terry of Oakland is a self-described plastic-free advocate. She became compelled a few years ago after seeing dead albatross.

"I looked at that photo and what I saw in there were things from my life; I mean it was bottle caps, toothbrushes, all kinds of everyday plastic things that were ending up thousands of miles from civilization," said Terry.

Back in Oakland, Terry has been trying to do something about it. She started a blog called http://fakeplasticfish.com/list/. She researches and writes about plastic-free alternatives and has been reducing her own consumption.

In 2009, she consumed 3.7 pounds -- that's about four percent of the national average of 88 pounds per person a year. She's on a start local spread global quest to help others take action by reducing, reusing and recycling plastics.

"I first started with plastic bags because plastic grocery bags are easy to give up, right off the bat, you know, bring your own bags to the store," said Terry.

Beth has some other easy, plastic-free options: get re-usable cotton bags to buy and store your produce or dry foods; ditch plastic water bottles for a stainless steel one. Forget the plastic utensils, carry your own reusable ones made of wood or metal; invest in a glass straw; use glass or metal containers to store food; try glass bottles of milk; or a cardboard box of dishwasher detergent; and how about shaving with a metal, reusable razor; even the cats can be fed in ceramic bowls.

"I don't expect people to be as extreme as I am, but what I'm doing is using myself as an example to say, look, this is possible," said Terry.

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