The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: June 2008

June 27, 2008

No more poo

No Impact Man did it.

Life Less Plastic did it.

Wait… didn’t I just write this post two days ago?

No, because this one my friend Axelle is doing. And a few days ago, I started to do it too. No, we’re not constipated. (Although that is the tagline for the No ‘poo forum.) We’re all just attempting to give up shampoo. And conditioner. And most hair products in general.

I’ve written about solid bar shampoos and how they can help us save plastic bottle packaging waste. But giving up shampoo altogether saves not only packaging but excess ingredients and a ton of money. And according to believers, it’s a lot better for our scalps and hair.

Inspired by Life Less Plastic once again, I asked Jeanne to write a few pointers on her experience going shampoo-free. This is what she had to say:

I know you’re probably feeling extremely skeptical right now. I was the same way. When I started my no ‘poo experiment, I kept… Read the rest

June 25, 2008

Dear Citra Solv…

June 13, 2008

Citra Solv, LLCPO Box 2597Danbury, CT 06813-2597

Dear Steve & Melissa,

I purchased a box of CitraSuds natural laundry detergent today at the Ecology Center in Berkeley, CA. I am always on the lookout for environmentally safe products and was happy to learn that your laundry powder is biodegradable and contains no chlorine bleach or synthetic perfumes or dyes. I was also happy to read on the box that the package is made from 100% recycled paper.

However, after opening the box, I was disappointed to find a plastic measuring scoop. While I realize the scoop may be made out of recycled plastic, the fact is that it is not biodegradable and cannot be further recycled – not where I live anyway. Therefore, I am returning the scoop to you in the hopes that you can find a use for it. I don’t need it, and most of the people I know do not need a brand new scoop each time we buy a box of detergent.

There is another brand of laundry soap, Ecover, which… Read the rest

June 24, 2008

Confession: I just bought a tube of toothpaste!

No Impact Man did it.

Life Less Plastic did it.

Sustainable Dave did it.

Now I have gone and done it. And in a plastic tube, to boot.

Why did I buy toothpaste in the first place? Two reasons. First, my baking soda, wintergreen oil, stevia powder combination had been working fine for many months. But in the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling like it’s too harsh on my gums. My mouth feels kind of sore after using it. And then last week, during my radio interview on Tomorrow Matters, one of the callers said she worked in a dental office and believed that plain baking soda is too abrasive. I had heard this before, but hadn’t really believed it until I started noticing irritation in my own mouth.

Second, my dentist really wants me to have some fluoride on my teeth, and since giving up both toothpaste and Act fluoride rinse, I wasn’t giving them the treatment he thought they should have. Yes, I know there’s fluoride in our drinking water.… Read the rest

June 20, 2008

My Busy, Busy, Unbloggy Week

I started writing this post last night and then all of a sudden felt like I was whacked in the head… sniffles, sneezing, stuffed up nose… and couldn’t sit upright anymore. So I slept for a few hours and now I’m trying again because I have a lot I want to write about before I go back to sleep.

It’s been a really busy week, and I’m excited to talk about a few things. Last night, I had just gotten back from a heated community hearing addressing a proposed Safeway expansion in our neighborhood. Oh, did I say expansion? I meant domination. Look at the hugeness of the Monstropolis they want to construct on the entire block of College Ave between Claremont and Alcatraz:

As you probably know, I’m no lover of Safeway. I’ve written about the problems of shopping there and my letters to the CEO about plastic bags. But what those of you who don’t live here may not understand is the threat to the unique quality of this… Read the rest

June 13, 2008

Activism, Religion, & Despair: What Would Jesus Buy?

Last weekend I finally saw the documentary What Would Jesus Buy? on DVD. It follows the crusade of “Reverend Billy” and the “Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir” during this past Christmas season as they traveled cross country spreading a message of anti-commercialism, support for local businesses, and hairspray. Well, the hairspray was more method than message, but I digress.

Say what you want about environmentalists taking on the language of the Church to make their points, (and by the way, there’s been quite a bit of debate about that very issue this week on the Green Bean Dreams and TallgrassWorship blogs) Reverend Billy’s evangelical escapades, offensive or not, grab attention and draw converts to the cause. He exorcises shopping demons from Wal-mart and Disneyland. He gets himself banned for life from Starbucks. He’s been arrested more times than his wife Savitri can count.

But flamboyant… Read the rest

June 12, 2008

Pure & Natural is just a name, not necessarily a description

My friend and co-worker Marika picked up a bar of Pure & Natural soap for me while shopping at Target. Marika is very sweet. She makes the best cupcakes and brownies in the world, and she lives to love and protect animals of all kinds (even though she tortures her dog by making him wear orange sweatshirts.)

So anyway, she thought of me because Pure & Natural soap comes packaged in 100% post-consumer paperboard packaging that is embedded with flower seeds to encourage users to return it to the earth rather than throwing it away. Cute idea. And the soap itself is labeled as 99% natural origin. That’s great. But what’s the 1% that’s not natural?

Listed among all the ingredients you’d find in most natural soaps is “fragrance.” That must be the unnatural 1%. And what is in the fragrance? I didn’t know, so I called Pure & Natural’s toll free number (1-877-711-8188) to find out. Will answered … Read the rest

June 10, 2008

"We can either have plastic toy sharks or real sharks, not both."

The above quote sounds almost like the tagline for this blog, doesn’t it? In fact, it is from a letter to the Monterey Bay Aquarium written by Erica Etelson, a friend of one of my Green Sangha friends. Erica visited the aquarium with her family a few months ago and was disappointed by all the plastic and other petroleum-based items for sale in the gift shop, as well as food packaging in the cafe.

Now, we’re used to seeing gift shops at zoos and museums. It’s one of the ways these places bring in cash to fund their educational work. However, the mission of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is special. Their purpose is to educate the public about the health of our oceans. They are the folks who publish the Seafood Watch sustainable seafood guides each year. And through their Center for the Future of the Oceans, they “champion policies that conserve and restore threatened marine wildlife on the California coast and in the northern Pacific,… Read the rest

June 9, 2008

Urban Compost + Recycled Potting Soil = Good Tomato Food? We’ll see…

Yesterday, I mentioned recycling the potting soil from my dead roof garden as well as harvesting the compost (finally) from my Urban Compost Tumbler to add to the dirt in the front yard where we planted tomatoes. Back in March, I whined about how the Urban Compost Tumbler was just not as great as I’d hoped it would be. I stopped filling it because it had become too heavy to actually tumble by myself, and we switched to dumping our food waste into our curbside green bin instead, to be sent away to the city’s commercial compost facility.

Feh. I’d rather we could keep our food scraps and use them ourselves. Maybe now that we have a bit of yard, we can switch to the kind of composter that sits directly on the ground. As I mentioned in the March post, we’d had great success with one of those before. (A worm bin is not an option at this time. We have no place to put one and would probably let the worms die, anyway, just like the plants.)

So okay, this… Read the rest

June 2, 2008

Pizza, Ice cream, & Parents

Hanging out with my parents, who are visiting for a few days on their way back to Maryland from Hawaii. Not hiding under the covers depressed, as my previous post might suggest.

Thanks to everyone who gave such great suggestions for managing computer stress! I especially love Michelle Verges’s idea of turning the questions into a meme, and I nominate her as the first tagee!

I’ll post last week’s plastic tally soon. Thanks for putting up with my whining! … Read the rest