The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: July 2007

July 14, 2007

Tina, eat the plastic food!

Another sleepless night. Another wacky “art” project. Meet Tina. Tina’s tummy is full of plastic bags. And that’s okay, because she’s a fake plastic fish. In fact, her whole body is knitted from plastic bags… from the plastic bag “yarn” ball I made the other night. Click on images to see larger.

And remember, plastic bags are not evil. How can they be? They’re just plastic bags. It’s the overproduction of and disposal of them by humans that causes harm to other living things. So here are a few plastic bags that, for the time being, are just hanging out being a fish called Tina.… Read the rest

July 11, 2007

Store Report: Trader Joe’s & NatureWorks ® PLA

When we learned in February that a Trader Joe’s was going to be moving in to the old Albertson’s building just a few blocks from our house and right near the Rockridge BART station, we were thrilled. In fact, the idea of Trader Joe’s coming has been enough to lift me out of the dumps on quite a few occasions this year. Especially in the morning when I’m tired and grouchy, I’ll be standing in the shower and suddenly the thought, “Oh, but Trader Joe’s is coming! Yippee!” will enter my head and give a whole new brightness to the day. (Some of us are simple that way.)

So when shortly after starting the plastic project, I was reminded by my friend Nancy what a packaging nightmare Trader Joe’s is, the sun over Rockridge grew just a little bit dimmer that day. Then, yesterday online, I ran across a random posting referring to the biodegradable plastic that Trader Joe’s uses. A ray of hope! I e-mailed… Read the rest

July 10, 2007

Has she really started knitting again???

The last time I picked up the needles was March 2006. And I haven’t actually picked them up again yet. However, I did stay up all night on July 3, watching movies and making this big “yarn” ball out of plastic grocery bags. (I should categorize this post under “Projects for Obsessive Insomniacs.”)

Did you know that crafty people are finding all kinds of uses for plastic bags in order to save them from the landfill? Here are just a few:

Instructions for creating the plastic bag “yarn”

A knitted plastic tote bag (they use a different method for creating the yarn)

Fused plastic bag fabric

Here’s an article on TreeHugger about all kinds of plastic bag DIY projects.

And finally, my friend Sharon sent me this info about a class here in the Bay Area at the Richmond Art Center that sounds like fun:

Lost and Found Recycled Basketry

Instructor: Kathleen Hubbard In every garage lies a wealth of stuff that’s… Read the rest

July 10, 2007

Brita water filter follow up

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 http://www.takebackthefilter.org 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!

I received the following e-mail from Brita yesterday in response to my 2nd e-mail to them:

From: “Brita Consumer Services” brita@consumerreply.com To: beth@coloringthevoid.com Subject: Reference Number: 4959167 Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2007 16:48:09 -0500

Ms. Beth Terry [address omitted] Reference Number: 4959167

Dear Ms. Terry,

Thank you for writing back.

The technology used in the filters in some countries is different than what is used in the USA. This is why our filters are not considered recyclable. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Again, thank you for contacting us.

Sincerely,… Read the rest

July 7, 2007

In which our heroine attempts to bake… with unintended results

My friend Mea, in response to my lament about not being able to find pitas without plastic, sent me a recipe so I could bake them myself. Mark, do not laugh! I did not mistake BisQuick for flour this time. I did, however, misread 1 1/4 cups of water as 1/4 cup of water and was very confused about why the “dough” would not get doughy. (I kept adding water, thinking I was doing the wrong thing but not knowing exactly which wrong thing I was doing.) But okay, even before I put in the flour, the yeast would not do much of its yeast thing. And after letting the breads rise for the prescribed 45 minutes and finding that no rising had actually taken place, I put them in the oven to see what would happen. And what happened are these little bread stepping stones. The outside is hard. The inside is heavy and doughy. And the pocket… um… let’s just forget that they were supposed to be pockets. They taste okay.

Oh, and by the way, in my attempt to bake… Read the rest

July 6, 2007

Eye Drops

Every night I use one or two of these tiny single-use plastic vials of Refresh Endura eye drops and then throw them away (now, in my plastic purgatory, of course.) And each night I hope as I close my eyes that the drops will work and I’ll be able to open my eyes pain-free the next morning. I have a chronic condition called recurrent corneal erosion, and Refresh Endura drops are the only thing I’ve found, amid all the different drops and ointments and treatments that will work to keep it at bay.

Those who don’t use eye drops might be wondering why they don’t come in a bigger multi-use bottle that would use less plastic. The answer is that then the drops would have to contain preservatives to keep organisms from growing in them. Organisms that could cause blindness from an eye infection. Preservatives that can be very irritating and to which many people are sensitive or allergic.

So, here’s a case where I think the use of plastic… Read the rest

July 5, 2007

Store/Product Report: Lush (Some more good news)

03/25/2008 UPDATE: Warning to those who would order Lush products through the mail. I have had several reports from readers who ordered what they thought would be naked chunks of shampoo or deodorant, only to have them arrive wrapped up in a ton of plastic. So either be very specific in your ordering instructions that you don’t want any plastic packaging, or don’t order from Lush. Reading the comments on my updated 03/24/08 blog post might be helpful to you.

When you walk into a Lush Cosmetics store, (there is one at 240 Powell Street in San Francisco, as well as locations throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world) you are greeted not by rows and rows of products packaged in plastic (as you are when you enter The Body Shop, for example), but by big unwrapped chunks of solid soap as well as shampoo, deodorant, bubble bath, and massage oil. That’s right, big solid chunks of these things! They are sold by weight. You tell the staff how much… Read the rest

July 5, 2007

It’s official: Oakland bans plastic bags

Good news reported in yesterday’s Oakland Tribune:

The Oakland City Council Tuesday banned petroleum-based nonbiodegradable shopping bags in an effort to reduce the amount of waste Oakland sends to landfills and prevent the plastic bags from polluting the environment.

The ban would apply to stores with gross annual sales of more than $1million, which would include all supermarkets and chain drug stores.

However, the measure would not apply to restaurants or fast food eateries.

“It’s a good first small step,” said Councilmember Patricia Kernighan (Grand Lake-Chinatown). “It’s not going to solve all of the problems in the world.”

The new law does not apply to the sacks provided by grocery stores to bag fresh fruit and vegetables or meat, only those bags shoppers get at the check stand.

So, this ban does not address the problem of all the plastic bags used for bulk foods at stores like Berkeley Bowl.… Read the rest

July 3, 2007

Uganda bans plastic bags, promotes banana leaves

Sun 1 Jul 2007, 13:24 GMT

KAMPALA, July 1 (Reuters) – A ban on plastic bags in Uganda took effect on Sunday to cut down the stinking piles of rubbish that litter its dusty capital and other urban areas, breeding germs and poisoning water supplies.

Officials want Ugandans to instead use banana leaves, the traditional material for carrying goods.

Uganda’s ban followed a similar one on Tanzania’s Zanzibar islands last year. There have also been moves in both Kenya and mainland Tanzania to raise duties on plastic bags, which dot Africa’s urban and rural landscapes with depressing regularity.

Ugandan Finance Minister Ezra Suruma announced the ban on “buveera” — polythene bags in the local Luganda dialect — during his budget speech last month in the east African nation.

“Due to serious environmental concerns and the difficulties in the disposal of polythene bags and plastic containers,… Read the rest