The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: June 2007

June 30, 2007

Plastic Bag Ban in Oakland? Letter to Jane Brunner

From the San Francisco Chronicle, June 27, 2007:

A measure to ban plastic bags from grocery stores and other large retailers in Oakland was unanimously passed by a key City Council committee Tuesday.

The measure, which is very similar to a ban adopted in San Francisco, will be sent on to the full council next week and if approved will take effect in August.

I’m not just keeping my fingers crossed. Here’s my letter to my city councilmember, Jane Brunner today:

Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 14:46:11 -0700 (PDT)From: “Beth Terry”Subject: plastic recycling in OaklandTo: “Jane Brunner”

Dear Councilmember Brunner,

I have 2 reasons for writing:

1) I read in the San Francisco Chronicle that on Tuesday an Oakland City Council committee unanimously passed a measure to ban plastic bags from grocery stores and other large retailers. The article says that the measure will be sent on to the full council next week and if approved… Read the rest

June 30, 2007

Store Report: Elephant Pharmacy

Just like Whole Foods, this natural pharmacy contains very few items that are not packaged in plastic. Recycled toilet paper in plastic. Recycled napkins in plastic. Natural cellulose sponges in plastic. Natural cleaning products in plastic. Natural cosmetics, drugs, foods, bric-a-brac in plastic. Here are the few plastic-free items that I found and bought:

2 boxes of BioBags, 3 gallon size. BioBags are made from corn and are 100% biodegradable and compostable. We are going to use them in our kitchen garbage can instead of the plastic grocery bags that we have been using. Hopefully, we won’t be putting much into them anyway. We put all of our food waste into the green compost bin; we put all of our paper, cans, and curbside-recyclable plastic into the gray recycling bin; and since the beginning of this plastic project, I have been saving all the non-recyclable plastic “for later.”

Ever since I heard about Casabella natural … Read the rest

June 30, 2007

Store Report: Rockridge Market Hall

The Pasta Shop in Market Hall. Or as my friend calls it, Markup Hall. It’s pricy, alright. But they do have bulk pasta! All different shapes and sizes! And Market Hall is only a few short blocks from my house right near the Rockridge BART station. Unfortunately, they only offer the standard roll of plastic bags near the bulk pasta. But if you ask at the counter, they will give you paper bags. It was very crowded today, so I didn’t want to try and get into a discussion about bags. I’ll find a less busy time (if there is one) to approach the manager about putting out paper bags as an alternative to the plastic. Most customers will simply take what’s available rather than ask for something different.

At Market Hall’s Cheese Shop, I asked to have my cheese sliced to order and wrapped in paper. However, the merchant wasn’t really clear on the concept. When I got my paper-wrapped cheese home and opened up the wrapper, I found … Read the rest

June 27, 2007

Water Filters & my letter to Brita

04/14/2008 Update: If you’ve reached this page because you want to know how to recycle Brita filter cartridges in North America, please visit for more information about the campaign to urge Clorox (owner of Brita in North America) to develop a take-back recycling program for these cartridges!

So I really need your input on this one! What method of water filtration do you use and why? Are you able to recycle the filter? One of the items in my plastic waste pile from last week was a very heavy used Brita water filter cartridge. What to do with it? I checked Brita’s web site and found out that in Britain, they have a recycling program. However, there was no mention of recycling on the U.S. web site, so I sent the following letter and received the following response:

Note sent on web site contact form: Brita On Tap SystemQuestions/Comments: I understand that Brita … Read the rest

June 27, 2007

Soy Milk & my letter to White Wave, makers of Silk

To date, my favorite brand of soy milk has been Silk. In fact, they have a green energy program. The irony is that the symbol of that green energy program is a green plastic cap on the soy milk carton. The name of the campaign: “Green Caps for Green Energy.” As I mentioned in my review of Whole Foods, it’s hard to find soy milk packaged without some plastic. So last week, I sent a note via the contact form on Silk’s web site, and this is the response I received today:

Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007From: “Beth Terry”

Hi. I am trying very hard to eliminate plastic waste from my life. I have 2 questions regarding Silk soy milk in the carton.

First, is there any plastic coating on the carton? I have been told that today, many milk cartons contain a plastic coating rather than wax. What is the story with Silk?

Second, why is it necessary to have a plastic screw cap on a milk carton? The whole time I was growing up, we opened our milk cartons on … Read the rest

June 26, 2007

A new domain and blog name: fakeplasticfish. com

We are no longer in Paradise, kids. I tried to purchase the domain name last night, and of course it was not available. It’s actually a directory of plastic items for sale! Not my kind of Plastic Paradise. So I puzzled and puzzled over P words until my puzzler was sore. I went to bed and puzzled some more. Then, some time early this morning, it came to me in a flash: Fake Plastic Fish. Say what?

Just think about all the plastic food you see in the windows of restaurants… especially Japanese restaurants. Plastic food is BIG BUSINESS, and for me it symbolizes what our plastic culture has become. The plastic food in the window often looks better than the actual food on our plates. Here’s an interesting article about the craft of plastic food making in Japan: Plastic Food To Savor With The Eyes.

In the past, fake food was made from wax, as the article explains. Nowadays, it’s made from plastic. So the fake fish on the… Read the rest

June 24, 2007

Week 1 Results: 20.7 oz. of plastic waste!

Beth, how can you look so serene among all that evil plastic? You’re killing the planet! You’re murdering small animals! Snap out of it!

Now, now, chickadees. I haven’t killed anything yet. All this pretty plastic is still in my house waiting to discover what it will become next. Kind of like me. And aren’t the flowers nice? I’m sitting in my roof garden and it’s a gorgeous day!

So here’s the deal. Yep, there is a lot of plastic waste this week. I’m using up the plastic that I’d already purchased before this experiment began. It’s allowed because I’m making up the rules. So, here is the tally of items used this week but purchased earlier:

First, plastic wrappers, bags, and other non-recyclable plastic: 6 Kashi granola bar wrappers. I only have a few more left, and then I’ll switch to eating cereal in a bowl in the morning.

1 Whole Treats Belgian Chocolates Little Bites bag … Read the rest

June 23, 2007


…to anyone browsing this site using Internet Explorer or AOL. I had NO IDEA it looked so bad. It looks perfect in Firefox. I’ll fix it ASAP. Hopefully, it will already be fixed by the time you read this.… Read the rest

June 23, 2007

Gardening without plastic? My trip to Long’s Drug

I took a walk to the Rockridge Long’s today, or as my friend Christine calls it, the Mother Ship Long’s. It’s huge. With a huge nursery/ gardening center. I wanted to find out if I could buy plants, soil, fertilizer, and other plant necessities in non-plastic containers. Here’s what I found:

1) Plants — just as at Whole Foods, Long’s sells herbs and vegetables in Eco-Form pots, but all the other plants are sold in plastic. I’ll be sticking to seeds until I can find a way to buy plants without plastic.

2) Soil — Nope. Not a single bag of any kind of soil in non-plastic. How do people avoiding plastic obtain potting soil? I won’t be planting anything new until I figure this out.

3) Fertilizer — This is where I hit the jackpot. Long’s has a whole aisle full of organic plant foods in cardboard boxes and heavy paper sacks. Brands include Sweet Earth, Down to Earth, Grow More Research FarmsRead the rest

June 22, 2007

Store Report: Whole Foods, Berkeley & E-mail Response

I took a notebook, pen, and some canvas bags with me today and went on a fact-finding mission to Whole Foods Market on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. I wanted to find out what non-plastic options were available at this hipster natural foods mecca. And mostly what I found were shelves and shelves and shelves of plastic. Unless you stick to the produce or bulk foods sections, which inhabit about 1/4 of the store, you will find it difficult to find much in this store that is not contained in or does not contain some type of plastic. So, here’s a run-down, section by section.

1) Outside — the garden section. I was curious to find out if I would be able to purchase plants for my roof garden that were not contained in plastic pots. While Whole Foods does carry herbs and vegetables grown in biodegradable Eco-Forms pots, all non-edible flowers and plants come in plastic. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to buy another shrub or if must stick to planting … Read the rest