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Nytimes.com — For Beth Terry, the epiphany came when she read an article about how albatross chicks are being killed by discarded plastics. It was time to banish plastic from her life.

First, she focused on her kitchen and got rid of the shopping bags, microwaveable Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese, Clif energy bars and the prewashed salads in plastic tubs.

Then she turned to her bathroom, where she switched to shampoo bars instead of bottles and made her own hair conditioner from apple cider vinegar. Toothpaste without plastic packaging was exceptionally hard to find, so she started making her own with baking soda.

Sometimes her personal war on plastic created awkward moments. During a vacation to Disneyland in California to run a half-marathon, Ms. Terry and her husband left their reusable cloth bags in the hotel, soon discovering that the local supermarket only had plastic bags. How to carry a bunch of apples, oranges, avocados and melons?

“We just rolled it up in our T-shirts and carried it that way,” said Ms. Terry, 54, recalling how she crab-walked back to the hotel to stay true to her principles. “If I let myself off the hook this time, it would be easier for me to take plastic next time.”

As a marketing term, “plastic free” is emerging as the new “no carbs.” Stores that pride themselves on zero plastics have opened in Brooklyn and London, selling items like silicone water bottles, cardboard poop scoopers, biodegradable vibrators and iPhone cases made of flax.

Designers have embraced “plastic free” as a new challenge, whether it’s building a supermarket aisle without plastics or making eco-friendly clothing that does not involve “virgin” plastics. Celebrities including Jeff Bridges and SZA have joined the anti-plastic crusade.

But to exist in the modern world without plastic, however noble a goal, may not actually be possible…

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