The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: February 2008

February 29, 2008

The Business of Green Part 2: Janice Sitton of Good Green Graces

I first met Janice Sitton during my tour of the San Francisco recycling center and transfer station, aka The Dump. Janice was one of the attendees, but she also seemed to know an awful lot about recycling and garbage already. She explained to me that she was a member of the Northern California Recycling Association and, like Doug Farquhar of Renovos, she had started her own consulting business, Good Green Graces, helping businesses and events become “green.”

A month after that tour, Janice arranged another tour, this time of the Jepson Prairie compost facility in Vacaville, California, and invited me along. I was happy to trudge with her, as well as a couple of employees from San Francisco Department of Environment, through the muck and mud to learn how the waste that’s discarded into the green bins in San Francisco is transformed into compost material for home gardens as well as commercial operations like local vineyards.

I’m… Read the rest

February 27, 2008

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Blog Posts…

I was happily surprised this morning to discover that this blog has been added to Blogger’s list of Blogs of Note which means that it appears on the front page and dashboard of Blogger for 10 days, available to anyone who logs on to their Blogger account. This was completely unexpected and welcome. And what’s even more unexpected is that at 9pm, as I write this, Fake Plastic Fish has already received 6 times more visitors than it ever has before, and the night isn’t over.

So welcome to the new visitors to this blog. Fake Plastic Fish is my attempt to live sustainably by significantly reducing my plastic consumption and plastic waste, from carrying my own bags when shopping to drinking from a reusable metal water bottle to using solid shampoos and lotions instead of those bottled in plastic. Each week I photograph and tally my plastic waste. The amount has gone down a lot since I first started, but as you can see from the following picture,… Read the rest

February 27, 2008

The Business of Green Part 1: Doug Farquhar of Renovos & BuyGreen.com

Have you heard the complaint that living in a sustainable way simply costs too much money? Well, there are a few people out there who would beg to differ. Since I began my own journey into the world of environmental responsibility, I’ve met some great people who not only think we can save money and the earth at the same time, they actually make their living helping others to do just that.

In my next couple of posts, I’d like to introduce a few of these people. Part 1 is about Doug Farquhar, who began the company Renovos, a consulting firm that helps companies find ways to reduce their waste. I met Doug several months ago, when he contacted me about his project, Rejavanate, reusable tote bags made from recycled coffee sacks, which I wrote about back in September. If you haven’t seen that post, check it out. It’s a great story.

I ran into Doug again at the SF Green Festival where he was exhibiting for his second company, BuyGreen.com, … Read the rest

February 25, 2008

Bag Monsters afoot…

Have you seen the plastic Bag Monster? I see it all over the place. Blowing down the street, clogging the gutter, floating in Lake Merritt, and even hiding in my own kitchen. I shot this quick footage of a Bag Monster battle taking place on the steps of SF City Hall last November:

But seriously. I’ve written about plastic bags before, and I think that most folks reading this blog already have strong opinions about them. But recently, I’ve come across some stories on the web that sum up the problems of plastic bags eloquently and comprehensively, and I’d like to share them with you, as well as a story of a guy who’s out busting the bag monster in a way that’s humorous and attention-getting.

The first story is Plastic Bags Are Killing Us from Salon.com. It was forwarded to me by Green Mary, a woman I plan to write more about later. This article starts near my home with a description of a group fishing plastic bags out of Lake Merritt… Read the rest

February 24, 2008

Week 36 Results: .6 oz of plastic waste. The day has finally come!

Oh joy! I’ve been waiting for the week when my plastic waste would finally fit easily in my own two hands, and this was that week. Don’t get me wrong. We still have plastic in this house that we’re using up, and the tally will go up again. But it’s nice to savor small victories.

Items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began: Approximately 7 feet of packing tape. I pulled this tape off an old box I cut up to use to make a barrier to keep kitties from chewing electrical cords. In fact, I’m so tickled with Michael’s and my ingenuity, I’m gonna post photos of the setup below.

New plastic waste: 2 Refresh Endura single-use eye drop containers

Now, here’s my plastic-free kitty project for the week. I needed a way to keep the kittens from getting to the tangled mass of electrical cords behind our TV/stereo stand. I wish I had a before picture to show you. It was a real mess back there and the kitties… Read the rest

February 23, 2008

VBW Day a guest post by Michael, aka terrible person

“I saved Latin. What did you ever do?” — Rushmore

So (I find myself beginning almost anything I write these days with the word “so”. I may have picked it up from my high school Russian teacher, my favorite teacher ever, who was German. Or it may be a translation of “Hwaet”, the Old English word that begins the poem “Beowulf”, which can be and has been translated a hundred different ways, but basically means, “Attention please, everybody! I’m telling a story here!”)

So, those of you who have been reading FPF for a couple of months might remember the post I wrote during Beth’s absence on a retreat (and for the constantly multiplying new readers, here it is) in which I lamented the amount of plastic waste at the law firm where I work as an assistant librarian, especially the number of Firm-provided bottles of water consumed, despite the availability of delicious filtered,… Read the rest

February 22, 2008

Weekly Recipe: Huevos Rancheros

This dish is about 90% homemade. I didn’t lay the eggs or grow the vegetables or make the butter (although I could have using Crunchy Chicken’s instructions) or broth. But I did everything else by myself. And just to be clear, the reason for including these weekly recipes is not because I’m a great cook, as some other bloggers truly are, but to show that if a novice like me can cook from scratch with minimal plastic, then anyone else with the desire can do it too.

So, this meal is actually 3 different recipes combined: ranchero sauce, refried black beans, and whole wheat tortillas. Oh, and the fried eggs, but you can probably figure that part out for yourself. (Can you?)

Huevos Rancheros(modified from Emeril Lagasse’s recipe on Food Network.)

Ranchero Sauce: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup chopped white onions A bunch of chili powder and dried cayenne pepper (this is the main deviation from the original recipe, which calls for bell… Read the rest

February 21, 2008

Terracycle & Clif Bar: Shades of Green

Michael called me at work tonight to say he’d just heard that Clif Bar has a new program to take back its plastic energy bar wrappers and “upcycle” them in a partnership with Terracycle, the good folks who got sued by Scotts Miracle Grow for selling worm poop compost in recycled soda bottles and claiming it was better. (I’m sure it is better. Sue me.) In a joint effort, which I would have known about last week if monitor problems hadn’t kept me from reading all my email, Terracycle will send free prepaid energy bar wrapper collection envelopes to anyone who signs up for the Wrapper Brigade Program and will then manufacture them into “unique accessories and other upcycled products.” And Clif Bar will donate .02 per wrapper to the charity of your choice.

Sounds good right? Well, it didn’t sound good to me. In fact, I got all huffy about it. “Oh great!” I ranted. “Like anyone needs a … Read the rest

February 20, 2008

Confessions of a Greedy Green Blogger

I have a few things to get off my chest tonight. My dad, of course, would disagree and say I don’t have much in that department to lose. He’s inappropriate that way sometimes. But hey, if Vanessa can write about getting naked with her parents… Oh, dear. I think I’m getting punchy at 2am.

Okay, start again. I do have a confession to make. I have developed Greedy Blogger Syndrome. How do you know if you have GBS? Here are the tell-tale signs:

You check Google Analytics, or your analysis tool of choice, 100 times a day to see how many visitors have clicked on your site. When the number goes up, you get happy for 5 seconds. Then, you check it again.

 

You check your Technorati rating 300 times a day to see if there’ve been any changes within the last 5 minutes. When your rating goes up, you get happy for 5 seconds. If your rating goes down, you get unhappy for 5 minutes until you check it again.

 

 

You check for new comments… Read the rest
February 19, 2008

Shocked! Shocked to find that advertising is going on in here!

That’s right. I held off accepting advertising on this here blog for a very long time. Google Ads were not right for me because, although you can specify the types of ads you’ll accept, as far as I know you can’t accept or reject specific ads. Also, I was concerned about appearing biased in my posts. I didn’t want to deal with the possible conflict of interest.

But I’ve given the issue a lot of thought and noticed that many, many other bloggers whose opinions I respect are accepting ads on their sites. I put a lot of time and energy into research for this blog, which is my passion and joy, but it would be nice if there were occasional remuneration. (I have no book deal or other type of support for this site. It all comes from my pocket.)

Now, in my posts, I sometimes endorse certain products that I think are great for the environment and lowering our plastic consumption. So in the interest of full disclosure, I want to give you a rundown… Read the rest