Archive for July, 2007

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

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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

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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

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July 10, 2007

Beth redeems herself: These cupcakes are mad sick, ya’ll!

Can a 42-year old use that expression without sounding like an idiot? Who cares? This post is not even about plastic. It’s about cupcakes that rocked my world tonight, and I MADE THEM! The only reason I’m posting about them here is to redeem myself for the pita disaster a few nights ago. Just look at these pictures and drool…

Black bottom cupcakes with cream cheese & chocolate chip topping/middle and dark chocolate cake bottom. Take a closer look:

They are moist and gooey without being underdone with a chocolaty goodness that can only come from a Benevolent Universe. Wait, did I say that? The chocolaty goodness is going to my brain. I meant to say careful recipe reading, a bit of imagination, and a lot of luck!

Here’s the recipe that I adapted from the Joy of Cooking. All adaptations were purely in the service of richness, moistness, and intensity of chocolate experience.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

(According to the Joy of Cooking,… Read the rest

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July 9, 2007

Preserve Toothbrush Update: Response from Recycline

Date: Mon, 09 Jul 2007 14:07:35 -0400From: “Tever Dooley” td@recycline.comSubject: RE: Online Information RequestTo: Beth Terry

Hi Beth,

Thank you for your support of Recycline and the Preserve Toothbrush we really appreciate the plug on your blog!

I am very happy to say that we do work with several dentists nationwide who offer their patients the environment-friendly Preserve Toothbrush. We are unable to imprint on our regular Preserve Toothbrush due to the curve in the handle, however, we do offer a flat-handle toothbrush that is also made from 100% recycled plastic and 100% recyclable that dentists can have stamped. I see that you are going to your dentist at the end of the month. I would be more than happy to either send you our dental intro packet for you to share with your dentist or we can send your dentist one directly and mention that you recommended we contact them. Please let me know which you prefer.

Recycline®, has been in… Read the rest

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July 8, 2007

Week 3 Results: 6.7 oz. of plastic waste

This is Little Blue Snake (as opposed to Big Purple Snake who is hiding somewhere in the house.) He wanted to help me out this week with my plastic tally, but really he just looks cute in the picture. So, here goes:

Items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:

First, plastic wrappers, bags, and other non-recyclable plastic:

1 plastic bag from a tripod I hadn’t yet taken out of the box. I wonder what other goodies I’ll discover as I clean out drawers and closets.

1 plastic bag from a camera case I hadn’t taken out of the box. See above.

1 strip of tape from aforementioned tripod/camera case box.

1 outer wrapper from Costco pack of 6 packages of Garofalo spaghetti. As I mentioned last week, I have 4 more packages to use up.

1 outer wrap from box of Refresh Endura eye drops. I guess they wrap the box in plastic for security reasons. These little vials would be easy to steal. But couldn’t they just tape the top & … Read the rest

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July 8, 2007

DIY Homemade Tooth Powder (plus info on Preserve toothbrushes)

Well, I said I’d do it and I did. I used up the last of a tube of Crest (and believe me, I squeezed out every delicious bit before sending the tube to plastic purgatory) without having found a plastic-free replacement product. So I made my own tooth powder with the ingredients pictured above:

1 cup of baking soda1 cup of salt1 tsp of stevia powder (an herbal sweetener)1/2 tsp (give or take) of wintergreen essential oil

I shook it all up in a parmesan cheese container that I rescued from plastic purgatory and set it lovingly in its new home in the bathroom cabinet beside Michael’s shaving cream and my bottle of Act fluoride rinse.

(Act fluoride rinse is another product I’ll have to worry about eventually. But I still have 2 bottles left, so won’t think about it just yet.)

And then… and then… with no small amount of trepidation… I tried it. I sprinkled a little in my left palm and with my right hand, ran my wet toothbrush… Read the rest

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July 8, 2007

And speaking of bread…

We may not be able to find plastic-free pitas, but here in the Bay Area are a whole slew of bakeries that deliver their bread fresh to grocery stores, wrapped only in paper. Here’s a list. All of these breads can be found at Berkeley Bowl, and many of them are at Whole Foods, too. Click an image to view the company’s site:

Bread Workshop in Berkeley

And of course bagels are sold in bins with no wrapping at all.

I’m going to have more to say about Berkeley Bowl later, but I just had bread on my brain tonight after the pita party, and it’s nice to appreciate some nice things we can get easily without plastic. Those who live in the Bay Area are very fortunate. I don’t know if people have access to this kind of fresh bread in other parts of the country. … Read the rest

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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

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July 7, 2007

Five Things that Are Worse than Global Warming

As Live Earth, a huge world-wide concert to bring awareness to the problem of global warming, takes place today, a writer on Lighter Footstep addresses 5 issues he believes are worse than global warming. One issue that is relevant to Fake Plastic Fish is the issue of Peak Oil and how we’ve got to find alternatives to petroleum, not just for our cars but for all the many plastic products we take for granted. (Of course this issue is not unrelated to global warming, is it?)… Read the rest

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