The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: February 2008

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 &

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,… 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 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 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 14, 2008

Weekly Recipe: Curried Lentils with Yams & Swiss Chard

Mmmmmmm… Happy Valentine’s Day. Here’s a nearly plastic-free recipe that Michael first made for Thanksgiving and then I recreated this weekend. Enjoy.

Curried Lentils with Yams & Swiss ChardBased on this recipe from the NY Times.

Ingredients:2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil1 medium onion, chopped4 garlic cloves, minced1-1/2 teaspoons ginger powder (Recipe calls for fresh ginger, but we didn’t have any in the house.)1-1/2 teaspoons garam masala1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder 4 cups “Better Than Bouillon” broth mix2 pounds yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)1-1/2 cups dried lentils1 bay leaf1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste1/2 teaspoon ground black pepperFinely grated zest of 1 limeJuice of 1/2 lime

Notes on ingredients packaging:1) Lentils purchased from bulk bin at Rainbow Grocery. Zero packaging.2)… Read the rest

February 13, 2008

Plastic-free sex, part 2: "Pedro offers you his protection"

Couldn’t resist the above. In our house, we quote Napoleon Dynamite whenever possible. Clearly, this post has nothing to do with Pedro, but everything to do with protected sex. And despite the fun title, this post is going to be more serious than yesterday’s, so once again, consider yourself warned.

Looking over yesterday’s post on using olive oil for lube, I realized it was written from a totally married hetero-centric point of view. Which makes sense, considering this is the blog of a married woman in a monogamous het relationship. I don’t worry about whether or not using olive oil will break a condom because, like my kitties, I’ve been fixed. But you can believe that if I were the parent of a sexually active teenager, I’d be harping on them night and day to use a condom every single time and would make sure they had access to as much water-based condom-friendly lube as they wanted. (Oh, what an annoying, creepy… Read the rest

February 11, 2008

Plastic-free Sex, Part 1: Reducing Friction in Relationships

Happy Valentine’s Day week. We’re all adults here, right? If Burbanmom can make the astonishing admission that she and her husband like to do it (gasp!) then I’m prepared to grab that ball (NPI) and run with it. Warning: this post gets a wee bit explicit. Read at your own risk.

So I’m sitting here looking at a #3 (PVC) plastic bottle of Liquid Silk sensual lubricant. The long list of chemical ingredients includes many parabens: methyl paraben, butyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben, as well as the preservative BHT. And this is what Michael and I are putting on and in our bodies each time we get extra specially close. The Skin Deep database gives it a provisional moderate hazard rating of 4, which is not what I’m looking for when I get in bed with my guy.

Now, I know there are natural, non-toxic water-based lubricants on the market: Firefly (formerly Nude), Good Glide, O’My Natural Lubricant, Love Lube, Sensua… Read the rest

February 8, 2008

Giving up the struggle: stories of ants and cats and hair products gone awry

I was planning to write about DIY hair care products this week. But so far, my experiments have been less than successful. Take, for example, the sugar water hairspray, exhibit left. Here’s the recipe:

Dissolve 1 tablespoon sugar in a cup of water. Boil 3 minutes. Be sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon vodka and 2-3 drops essential oil of your choice for scent. Pour into a spray bottle.

The instructions should also have said, “Keep out of the reach of ants!” But then, I guess the writer figured most sane people are aware that sugar attracts ants. Just to clarify, this hairspray ant invasion happened a month BEFORE last week’s sugar incident. You’d think I would have learned. And you would be wrong.

So, about the hairspray. It didn’t work anyway. Still looking for a plastic-free alternative. But that’s not what I want to talk about in this post.

What I want to talk about is letting go of … Read the rest