Archive for August, 2008

August 29, 2008

E+Co pencils not so eco, actually.

I’ve become an honorary member of the Green Moms monthly blog carnival, which was great last month when the topic was global warming and I had to learn all about how waste is related to climate change. This month, however, the topic is “Back To School,” and I almost decided to bow out. I don’t have kids. I don’t go to school. And every other post I receive in my email box lately has something to do with the topic, so I felt I had nothing to contribute.

Nothing, that is, until I went shopping at Long’s with my friend Axelle on Friday, after taking Hobble to get her stitches out. (We put her cat box in the cart and let her ride through the store with us!) For some reason we found ourselves browsing in the school supplies aisle. Axelle was looking for… um… I can’t remember. And I was marveling at all the plastic plastic plastic. Until I spied a plain cardboard box of pencils called E+Co by Pentech. The box didn’t… Read the rest

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August 27, 2008

Farewell to Del Martin, SF activist for whom the personal and political were no different.

This post has nothing to do with plastic but everything to do with personal activism and the power of each individual to make change in the world, if she or he simply tries.

When I first moved to San Francisco in 1989, I struggled to get by financially and relied on the services of the Lyon & Martin women’s clinic for my healthcare. It was a place that operated on a sliding scale and made all women feel safe, regardless of issues of income, race, size, sexuality or gender issues. You know what? They put cute little oven mitts over the metal stirrups to keep our feet from getting cold during those less than pleasant female medical exams.

Eventually, I learned that the clinic was named after two San Francisco pioneers of the gay and lesbian movement, Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, who had fought all their lives for the rights of women, lesbians, and later seniors. Lyon and Martin were together for nearly 60 years and were the very first gay couple to get… Read the rest

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August 27, 2008

Compostable Containers: Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

This is a photo of a few things I brought home from the Outside Lands Music Festival Friday night: Two compostable cups made from corn and two compostable potato or cornstarch spoons. (Mine and my friend’s.) As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I forgot to bring my cute reusable bamboo utensils with me. And I didn’t think to bring a cup for wine either so felt lucky to find compostables rather than plastic or Styrofoam.

When I took my compostable cup back to the wine vendor for a refill, the server said, “It’s okay. You can have a new one.” Yeah, I can. But why should I? Just because an item can be composted, does that mean we have to compost it after one use? Just because an item is recyclable, does that mean we are compelled to recycle it immediately?

In yesterday’s post I whined about the “recyclable” plastic wine “glasses” being handed out in the WineHaven tent. Of course we know that… Read the rest

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August 26, 2008

Searching for plastic-free water at Outside Lands wears me out.

I love music more than ice cream. Even more than fudge sauce. And to me, the band Radiohead is like magic. I don’t understand how they make the exquisite and sometimes excruciating sounds that they do. I just know that as long as there are humans on this planet whose organized noise can move me to tears every single time I hear it, there must be hope for us.

So for a few months, I’ve been really looking forward to seeing my first Radiohead show live at the SF Outside Lands music festival in Golden Gate Park. And I was also pleased that this festival was being billed as a green event and planned to visit a section they called Ecolands, where there would be all kinds of “green” organizations and vendors measuring carbon footprints, collecting recycling (including old cell phones), and serving up organic food.

So I wasn’t really worried when I got to the festival entrance on Friday and was asked (after my bag was searched) to empty… Read the rest

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August 24, 2008

Year 2, Week 10 Results: 19.6 oz of plastic waste!

What does it mean when your cat’s poop suddenly turns red? Could be some terrible disease. Or could just mean your cat’s been eating her red blanket and explains why she’s not hungry anymore. I’ve been so worried about poor little albatross chicks consuming pieces of plastic out in the North Pacific Gyre, while here at home under my own nose my kitty’s been chowing down on polar fleece. Look at all the holes!

This is the blanket the kittens came with. I put it in Arya’s cage while she was healing, thinking it would be familiar and comforting. And I guess it was. Comfort food. (Plastic blanket, and god knows what kind of dye it’s got in it.)

Little Hobble had her sutures out on Friday and is getting back to her normal spirited self, which is a little worrisome because her bones will take a while to completely heal. So we still have to keep her in the cage — sans fake plastic blanket!

So, here’s this week’s… Read the rest

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August 22, 2008

Dear Financial West Group,

August 22, 2008

Financial West Group4510 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.Westlake Village, CA 91362

Re: Account #[omitted]

Dear FWG:

In January of this year, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to move my retirement savings into socially and environmentally responsible investments. To that end, I signed up with The Social Equity Group in Berkeley, CA to ensure that my investment funds are used to help protect the environment. In order for that to happen, my investments held by Schwab and by ING were moved into an account with Financial West Group.

The irony is that I have moved my money from two companies that save paper by offering a paper-free online statement option to one that is still sending out paper statements. But a rep at FWG explained to me that there are legal regulations and hurdles to jump through before investment companies are allowed to offer paper-free options, and FWG is in the process of making that happen.

That is good news. However, in … Read the rest

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August 20, 2008

Product tames frizzies without synthetic chems or much plastic

So, you know I switched to the no ‘poo method of hair cleansing a couple of months ago, and it’s been working fine. But I do have the ocassional frizzy hair day. I still have over half a (plastic) container of TRESemme styling putty that I purchased long before I stopped buying new plastic, but I quit using it months ago. First, because it contains 25 ingredients, many of which I cannot pronounce, and second, because once I started “no poo” I was worried it wouldn’t wash out properly.

So I was happy to receive an email from Rachel Whitman of the company The Name Is Product asking me to try out her… um… product. It’s a hair styling aide that claims to defrizz, texturize, soften, condition, and glisten using only 5 ingredients: “organic shea butter, pure aloe vera, natural source vitamin E (tocopherol), organic beeswax, and natural fragrance [which turns out to be tangerine oil].”

Now, … Read the rest

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August 19, 2008

Tara’s Organic Ice Cream: their trash can is empty!

Michael was terribly excited last week to tell me that a new shop had opened in our neighborhood combining two of our biggest passions: ice cream and zero waste. “You have to come see and bring your camera so you can write about it!” He’s not often so emphatic about what I post on my blog, so I figured this must be serious!

We joined up with a couple of other ice cream-lovin’ friends on Sunday and headed up the street to Tara’s Organic Ice Cream, which just opened a week ago on College Avenue (near where Safeway wants to build its mega monstropolis.) And sure enough, the boy was right! The ice cream is awesome, certified organic, but even better, the shop offers only durable or compostable containers and utensils.

The spoons are metal (for eating in the shop) or made from potato starch (for taking to go.)

Even the little tasting spoons are made from metal.

The bowls and containers are either durable dishes, like this one that … Read the rest

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August 18, 2008

Year 2, Week 9 Results: 2.5 oz of plastic waste.

Soots has taken over many of Arya’s old duties while she is out of commission, the thorough examination of my weekly plastic waste being one of them. As I write this, Arya is lying on the floor at my feet, wishing I’d take the elegant collar off her neck and let her pull out her sutures. Friday, little kitty, Friday they come out. Then, you can lick your wounds all you want. For those who miss her, I’ve got video of Miss Hobble Bobble, as she’s come to be known, below. But first, the tally!

Plastic items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:

Plastic wrap from the final Wholphin DVD. I subscribed to these DVDs over a year ago before starting this project, and if the notice on the envelope was correct, this will be my final one.

New plastic purchased since the plastic project began and used this week:

1 big ass bag (34 lbs) of World’s Best Cat Litter. I sent an email to GPC Pet Products in July… Read the rest asking them to reconsider

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August 15, 2008

Oh goody! BPA in my mailbox!

I received the following gem in my home mailbox last week:

The American Chemistry Council is bringing out the big guns and trying to frighten Californians into opposing the state’s proposed ban on Bisphenol-A (an additive in polycarbonate plastic and in the plastic lining of most food cans) in containers and canned foods meant for babies and toddlers.

The industry’s scare tactics include the following language, “Soon, many common, everyday products could disappear from grocery store shelves across California,” and “Your favorite Products May Soon Disappear.” The brochure urges recipients to call their Assembly Member and ask them to vote no on SB1713.

The brochure shows photos of women shoppers looking at various products they’ve picked up from the shelves. Only one of these products is a can. The other two appear to be boxes, which wouldn’t contain BPA in the first place. AND none of … Read the rest

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