The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: April 2008

April 30, 2008

Week 45 Results: 4.9 oz of plastic waste.

Those kitties are still getting me in trouble, plastic-wise. And the trouble will continue a bit longer. You know how I said I was going to make it my mission to figure out homemade food for them within the next two weeks? Well, it ain’t gonna happen this weekend because I’m leaving Thursday for my semi-annual meditation retreat (which I need oh so very much!) and won’t be back again until Sunday evening. But it’s gonna happen. I just feel guilty looking at all the cat food cans piling up in our recycling bin day after day, for a multitude of reasons. So, here’s last week’s tally:

Items purchased before the plastic project began: 1 Kleenex pocket pack wrapper. I discovered this one in the bottom of my backpack. I don’t think there are any more hiding in my house.

1 broken lid from a glass spice jar. Those kitties strike again! This time, the glass jar stayed intact, but the plastic lid broke. Go figure. I found another… Read the rest

April 28, 2008


Yes, I am still alive. Yes, I know I’m late with my Weekly Tally. No, I haven’t forgotten it. But I have been BUSY BUSY Bzzzzzzz!!!

Did another Rethinking Plastics presentation this morning for the Waldorf School in San Francisco. Had to edit the presentation for kids and also for the time allotted (only 30 minutes.)

Then, tonight, I presented the Brita campaign to the Northern Alameda County Sierra Club group at their meeting. Hoping they will join us.

We’re about to post a little update on Clorox and the campaign. Keep your eyes on the site. And tell everyone you know who uses Brita that we want their used cartridges!

Weekly Tally and more good plastics info coming tomorrow. I’m just totally fried.… Read the rest

April 24, 2008

Some things I learned from my cats…

Just a few thoughts tonight before signing off for the week. I was watching Soots and Arya (or Suit Scenario, as Axelle calls them) examine the common objects of their lives. They chew on cords. They bat at invisible specks. They jump onto the kitchen counter and invariably knock things off. They drag balls of yarn through the house, creating intricate and artistic messes that I have to clean up. They are way too curious about curly CFL lightbulbs for my comfort, and, as I mentioned yesterday, they are ruining the window blinds in their fascination with all things that move, swing, or make noise.

They are terribly curious and examine every object in their world with fierce intensity. And yet as much as they study and even learn the behaviors of certain objects, for the most part, they will never, ever understand why those objects are here in their world and what they are for. They bumble and break things and don’t understand what they have done.

And… Read the rest

April 24, 2008

My cats are not canaries! (Are they?)

The Environmental Working Group just released a study of toxic chemicals in cats and dogs. Turns out, they are loaded with them. In samples from 20 dogs and 40 cats, they found “48 of the 70 chemicals they looked for, including PCBs, PBDEs, phthalates, and heavy metals….” Levels of some of these chemicals were higher than in humans. So EWG has created a new organization called Pets For The Environment to “create a healthy environment for pets and people by demanding toxic chemical reform legislation in the U.S.”

According to Jane Houlihan, VP for Research at EWG, “The presence of chemicals in dogs and cats sounds a cautionary warning for the present and future health of children as well. This study demonstrating the chemical body burden of dogs and cats is a wake-up call for stronger safety standards from industrial chemical exposures that will protect all members of our families, including our pets.”… Read the rest

April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008: Pieces of a World that I Love

Earth Day. I have nothing deep to add to the discussion except these photos that I took today during a walk through my semi-urban neighborhood. I was trying to look at the materials of my world: plastic, wood, cement, glass, cotton, leather, steel, plant, flesh, without judgment or dismay, but simply appreciation. I wish you could smell the coffee at Peaberry’s or hear the rush of the traffic from the BART platform. Earth is not just a beautiful blue and green planet in space or some elusive wilderness. It’s everything, mundane and profound. And it’s every single day, isn’t it?

Click to see photos larger. Enjoy.

Read the rest

April 20, 2008

Week 44 Results: .8 oz of plastic waste.

Another week. Earth Day is coming up in two days. Honestly, I’ve never paid it much attention. I didn’t begin Fake Plastic Fish until June of last year. In the past, I’ve probably felt like Earth Day was a nice idea, but not much more. This year, Earth Day holds more significance for me. But I don’t have anything special planned except to continue with what I’m already doing… blogging here, being mindful of my plastic and other waste, and continuing with the “Take Back The Filter” campaign. At the end of this post, I’ll announce the winners of the children’s book drawings. In the mean time, here’s the weekly tally:

Items purchased before the plastic project began:

1 plastic pen. I have switched to using Lamy fountain pens with converters that allow them to be refilled from a bottle of ink. I bought my pens at a local stationery shop here in Oakland and keep one at work and one here at… Read the rest
April 17, 2008

Announcement: Phone meeting with Clorox tomorrow!

I haven’t posted in a few days. Have been feeling under the weather (as opposed to over the weather? Over the rainbow?) and in between coughs, sending emails to folks to sign the Take Back The Filter campaign petition.

Good news: Just got an email from a representative from Clorox and scheduled a phone meeting for tomorrow at 8:30 Pacific Time. As I write this, we’ve collected 184 signatures on our petition. It’s a great start, but I just know we can do better. If you haven’t signed yet, now’s the time. Can we get 500 by tomorrow morning???

I don’t care if you are not a current Brita customer. You could be in the future if they would take care of their waste, right? And I’m not requiring your email address or even home address (although those are helpful to us to have.) Just name, city, state, zip code.

Sorry to hound you. By next week, I’ll be back to my regular plastic-blogging self. And tomorrow I plan to … Read the rest

April 14, 2008

Brita: Take Back The Filter campaign has begun!

Okay, remember all my posts about how frustrating it was that Brita filter cartridges can be recycled in Europe but not in the U.S.? And how we had our water tested and found it perfectly fine without plastic water filter cartridges? Well, giving up water filters was a fine decision for us here in the SF Bay Area where we have some of the best water in the nation. But it’s not a great solution for folks in other areas of North America that may not.

If you’ll recall, I set up a recycle_brita Yahoo! group to plan strategy for a campaign to urge Clorox, the company that owns Brita in North America, to develop a similar Take Back Recycling Program for Brita cartridges here. Now, after several months of writing to Clorox and planning our strategy, I’m happy to announce that the Take Back The Filter campaign has officially begun. Join us in asking Clorox to:

1) Redesign its Brita filter cartridges so that the plastic housing can be refilled rather… Read the rest

April 14, 2008

Week 43 Results: 5.9 oz of plastic waste.

I know I’m late getting this post up today. But I’ve been working my little butt off this weekend on a project that I’m hoping to announce tomorrow.

The lesson of this week’s tally is that I must always remember to specify what kind of packaging I want when people send me things. Those free kids books I wrote about last week… several of them came in plastic envelopes. Here’s the tally.

Items purchased before the plastic project began: 1 3.5oz container of Fudge hair putty & lid. No idea what kind of plastic it is. There’s no recycling symbol. So, yes, I’ve been using hair putty in a plastic container. But it’s stuff I already had. And I have one more that I bought early last year that I’m using up right now. I haven’t bought hairspray since I used up my last container, and right now my hair is at that awkward in-between stage where it needs something to give it a little hold or I look … Read the rest

April 9, 2008

Lush responds, for what it’s worth

The letter-writing continues. After mentioning Lush solid shampoo and deodorant bars in my post two weeks ago, I received several comments from readers who had mail ordered Lush products hoping to avoid plastic packaging, only to find that the products that are sold “naked” in the store are packaged in all kinds of plastic when shipped through the mail.

So I wrote to Lush. I’m not going to reprint my actual email because I’m embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t very nice. I must have been in a crappy mood when I wrote it, and rereading it tonight, I realize it’s pretty confrontational, which is not the best approach when we want someone to make a change for us. Flies and honey and all that. Nevertheless, the response I got back was very polite. And while I still don’t agree with all their packaging choices, I’m happy that they’ve obviously thought about the issue a lot and are working to get better.… Read the rest