The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: July 2007

July 17, 2007

Containers: Eating & drinking on the go

Over the past few weeks, I’ve come across a few useful products for eating and drinking while out in the world to avoid plastic cutlery and water bottles.

The first is a great stainless steel water bottle called the Klean Kanteen. It’s a little heavier than a plastic bottle, but not by much. And it’s stainless steel, so there are no worries about plastic leaching into the water. There is a bit of plastic on the top of the stainless steel lid, but it’s pretty minimal I think. I bought mine at the Ecology Center in Berkeley yesterday and have been using it all day today. I really like the way it feels. The bottle comes in 4 sizes: 12oz, 18oz, 27oz, & 40oz. I bought the 27 oz bottle, and it fits perfectly into the pocket on the side of my backpack.

Also at the Ecology Center yesterday, I got Michael a stainless steel KFS (knife, fork & spoon) set to carry in his messenger bag. I can’t point you to a web site because I’m not… Read the rest

July 17, 2007

Recycled Art: The Panhandle Band Shell

Last week, I went to bed and found this newspaper clipping on my pillow. Michael had left it there for me. Then, a few days later, my friend Sharon e-mailed me the same article. So I knew I had to make a visit to the new Panhandle Band Shell in San Francisco between Oak and Fell near Clayton and see for myself this creation made from plastic water bottles, old car hoods, and computer parts. Here are the photos I took today, as well as one taken of me by some nice guy. Click images to see larger.

I don’t know if the band shell will be there after September. I should have taken my ukulele and made music. Or sung. Well, I sang all the way home from BART today even without a band shell to amplify my sound. The cats in Rockridge are very forgiving. … Read the rest

July 15, 2007

Electronics: Thoughts about RCA, iPhones, & the pursuit of happiness

Thanks to the folks over at Sustainable Is Good for pointing out that RCA plans to save 450 tons of plastic in the next two years by making smaller, environmentally-friendly paper gift box containers to replace the older clamshell packages in an initiative called “Smart Packing,” which they say has already saved over 81 tons of extra plastic.

I applaud this move on RCA’s part, and if I ever need to buy another electronic gadget, I’ll check out RCA-brand first, as well as any other brands that may be switching to similar packaging.

But we can’t forget that the electronics themselves are made of plastic and other non-renewable materials, and we need to ask ourselves before purchasing new electronics if we really need them and if they will really make us happy.

On Friday, June 29, I was walking along Shattuck Ave in downtown Berkeley when I came upon a huge line of people wrapping around the block. It was the kind of line you… Read the rest

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 12, 2007

Danger feared from chemicals getting into bay

From yesterday’s SF Gate:

Danger feared from chemicals getting into bayby Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Chemicals found in household products like antibacterial soap and plastic bottles are found in sewage water that is discharged into San Francisco Bay, posing a threat to wildlife and humans, according to new data.

Sophisticated sewage systems treat biodegradable food, human waste and metals, but they are not designed to capture the thousands of tons of synthetic chemicals used to manufacture consumer products, say officials at the East Bay Municipal Utility District, who found evidence of potentially harmful substances in sewage from businesses and homes.

Chemical ingredients are leaching out of toothpaste, deodorant, canned food liners and vinyl and polycarbonate plastics. They pass through the municipal sewage plants virtually untreated, the experts say.

[…Click the link above… Read the rest

July 12, 2007

A Quiz

True or False:

1) Plastics that go into a curbside recycling bin always get recycled.

2) Curbside collection will reduce the amount of plastic landfilled.

3) A chasing arrows symbol means a plastic container is recyclable.

4) Packaging resins are made from petroleum refineries’ waste.

5) Plastics recyclers pay to promote plastics’ recyclability.

6) Using plastic containers conserves energy.

7) Our choice is limited to recycling or wasting.

According to the article, “7 Misconceptions about Plastic and Plastic Recycling” on Berkeley’s Ecology Center web site, the answer to all 7 questions is FALSE.

How did you do? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, please read the full article to understand the difficult problems that plastics create. Solving them is more complicated than you might think. … Read the rest

July 11, 2007

Frozen Foods Summary

Most frozen foods contain some plastic. Of course, the ideal way to reduce plastic waste would be to avoid these “convenience” foods altogether. But that’s not always practical. So, here is an ongoing list of the amounts of plastic hidden inside packages of frozen foods.

Feel free to e-mail me info to add to the list, so I don’t always have to find out the hard way. Click the Frozen Foods link on the sidebar to return here in the future.

Last update: 08/12/2007

Frozen Entrees:

Brand: Amy’s KitchenTray: Cardboard tray with inside plastic coatingPlastic Film: Overwrap surrounds the entire tray

Brand: Helen’s KitchenTray: Cardboard tray with inside plastic coatingPlastic Film: Across the top only.

Brand: Michael Angelo’s Italian Natural CuisineTray: #1 PlasticPlastic Film: Across the top only

Brand: Organic BistroTray: Cardboard tray with inside plastic coatingPlastic Film: Across the top … 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 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” To: 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