The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: September 2008

September 30, 2008

My little plastic-free veggie garden


Sorry for the quality of the photos. For some reason, my camera and the sun would not cooperate last week when I took these. Anyway, here’s my very little front yard garden grown almost entirely without plastic. Yep. Little. And late. Because I didn’t get started until June. But it is what it is, and maybe you can offer some advice for next year.

If you’ll recall, the soil/fertilizer for my garden is a mixture of front yard dirt, my own homemade compost, and recycled potting soil from my dismantled roof garden. No new plastic bags of anything.

On the left are my four tomato plants, which are probably way too close together. They arrived plastic-free from my friend Jennconspiracy in little coconut coir planters. I removed them and tossed the planters in the compost. Then later found out I should have put the whole thing into the ground.

I was mocked and derided back in June for thinking that I could use one metal cage for four plants. I had… Read the rest

September 28, 2008

Year 2, Week 15 Results: 1.3 oz of plastic waste. Plastic on TV.

Do any of you watch the Showtime TV show Weeds? Have you ever noticed that Mary Louise Parker has a permanent straw stuck in her mouth? And that the straw is almost always coming out of a plastic cup? I just finished the 3rd season on DVD, and I don’t know if it’s a result of my recent plastic awareness or if some coffee company is sponsoring the show, but it seems like this season is all about disposable plastic cups and the accompanying loud slurping and slushing sounds of straw and ice. I wonder how many plastic cups and straws they go through on that set each day.

Granted, Weeds is about a woman in the suburbs dealing marijuana, so you might think there are bigger issues to worry about than the disposable plastic. But the debate over the legality of mind-altering herbs is beyond the scope of this blog. And it would be pretty funny to send a letter to the show complaining about the example they are setting for our young people by promoting cold drinks… Read the rest

September 25, 2008

Fake Plastic Holidays

Walk into the local drug store (this happens to be Walgreens on Powell Street in San Francisco) in September, and this is what you find:

We know this. It’s not news that Halloween has become a big plastic party. And it wasn’t so different when I was a kid in the 70’s. Plastic-wrapped candy in plastic bags and fake plastic costumes, which my family scorned because we always made ours from scratch. (“Do you think that kid’s costume is homemade or store bought? Looks like store bought. Lazy.”) And it wasn’t just that our mom had so much more time to make costumes than other mothers who worked outside the home because when we got a bit older, we all made our own, cobbled together from whatever was around the house.

The rest of the holidays are no better. Fake plastic jack-o-lanterns are replaced with plastic-lined cans of pumpkin pie filling (read: BPA) because god forbid anyone should clean out and bake an actual… Read the rest

September 24, 2008

Sitting with a plastic water bottle

Yesterday, Allie wrote about the problem of keeping hydrated while traveling. Not realizing she could carry her Kleen Kanteen through security, she ended up purchasing bottled water. And apparently, she is far from alone. A couple of days ago, USA Today published an article about the environmental issues around bottled water production and waste that begins with the author’s troubles at the airport.

Last night, I encountered this dilemma in a very unexpected place: a meditation hall. My friend Nancy and I went to sit with and hear a talk by teacher Pamela Wilson, given at a Unitarian Church in Berkeley. I’d had a stressful cab ride over and was happy to sit and relax into the moment, take a breath, and slowly open my eyes as Wilson began to speak with the audience. Her voice was calm and serene.

And then… oh my god!

She pull out a disposable plastic water bottle and…

holy crap! drank from it!!!!

What do you do when reality is right… Read the rest

September 23, 2008

Allie’s Plastic Confessions

(A guest post by Allie of Allie’s Answers.)

While I’m certainly not in the Fake Plastic Fish tier of plastic reduction, I do a pretty decent job limiting the amount of plastic that comes into our home. But on our recent vacation in Washington State, I realized that it’s a lot harder to keep the plastic under control away from home.

I hadn’t flown in about 4 years, and the regulations for carry-on items have changed since the last time I’d been in the air. I knew bringing beverages through the security checkpoint wasn’t allowed, so I figured I couldn’t bring my Kleen Kanteen. I thought about packing it, but worried that a big metal object in my bag might call it out for inspection. I feel a little stupid for leaving it at home, especially since our bags got pulled for inspection anyway, and a friend in Seattle told me she brings her empty Sigg with her through security all the time.

We had a 4 hour layover in Chicago,… Read the rest

September 22, 2008

Year 2, Week 14 Results: 2.2 oz of plastic waste. Ice Cream Party!

I am late getting last week’s plastic tally up. But you would be too if you were busy tallying and labeling and adding to a spreadsheet all the Brita filters that people were sending you from all over North America. I have no choice; I’m an accountant to the core and find a good spreadsheet to be a thing of beauty.

So, now that I’m finished for the moment with that particular work of art, here’s last week’s plastic tally, which includes a bunch more things I found while cleaning out a bathroom cabinet.

Plastic items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began: Caps from 4 sample tubes of Renova skin treatment. Got these from a dermatologist years and years ago. The tubes are metal, but the caps are plastic. None of them have been opened. Technically, this stuff is a drug (you need a prescription for it) so I’ll see if I can return it to Elephant Pharmacy or other place that takes back old medication.

2 bottles… Read the rest

September 18, 2008

Brita Subvertisement: a gift that dropped into our laps tonight!

Please don’t let me interrupt the conversation happening on the previous post. I’ve been reading your comments, even though I don’t really have time to respond right now. But I just had to jump in and tell you about a wonderful gift that the Take Back The Filter campaign received today.

First, have you seen the Brita filter ads discouraging bottled water that go “X minutes in/on the…. Forever in the landfill”? For example, a woman on a treadmill with a disposable plastic water bottle that goes, “30 minutes on the treadmill. Forever in a landfill.” If you haven’t, it might be worthwhile to check them out here.

First, I am not disparaging Brita’s campaign. If it’s helping to slow the sales of bottled water, I am all for it. But as you know, the plastic Brita filters are also not recyclable, which is why we started the Take Back The Filter campaign to urge Brita to create a way to recycle… Read the rest

September 17, 2008

Learning to Sleep

Why would anyone have to learn to sleep? The body does it naturally. When the lights go down, melatonin kicks in and we get sleepy. Then, we go to bed, right? Except, in this day and age with computers and artificial light, melatonin doesn’t necessarily kick in. And when you’ve got genes like mine (father, sisters who stay up all night) the sleep deck is stacked even further against you.

Clif has ocassionally noticed the time stamp on my posts. Yeah, I am usually up until at least 2am. But lately, I’ve found myself crawling into bed past 4am and even still been up at 5:30 just when Michael is starting his day.

So I’m going to learn to sleep because I’m becoming less and less effective when I’m awake and more and more cranky with the people I care the most about. In the meantime, posts on this blog might be a bit sporadic.

But that’s okay, because I’d really like to hear from you for a change. How do you feel about… Read the rest

September 15, 2008

Carnival of Trash #3

Hello my trash-talkin’ friends. As promised, here is the the third monthly Carnival of Trash, which was hosted last month at Mrs. Green’s My Zero Waste blog and will be hosted next month at Wiggly Wigglers The Rubbish Diet on Monday, October 13. If you’d like to contribute, please get your submissions in by the 6th.

I haven’t written a post specifically for this carnival because I figure this whole blog is about trash, but I will share one thought. As I read through these many posts dealing with the physical waste that we generate and solutions for reducing it, I am reminded of my meditation teacher a year ago who pointed at his head and said, “Remember. The real trash is in here.”

Let’s take care of our messes — both inner and outer. And so, with that thought, I’d like to share not a post of my own, but an article that was read aloud in my monthly Green Sangha group yesterday. It’s a very short,… Read the rest

September 14, 2008

Year 2, Week 13 Results: 2.9 oz of plastic waste. Junk mail mad house.

I give up. You’ll see why below…

Plastic items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began: 1 broken spray nozzle. Lesson learned: do not add ground cinnamon (or any other ground spice, probably) to a solution you plan to spray from a plastic bottle. The cinnamon clogs up the works. And I, trying to force the liquid out, squeezed too hard and broke the danged sprayer. Sigh. I haven’t added the bottle itself to the tally because I’m hoping to find another spray nozzle to fit it. This was the bottle I was using for my homemade ant spray concoction. (Supposedly, ants don’t like cinnamon.) It’s better to put a whole cinnamon stick in the bottle than the ground stuff. But that’s not what I meant about giving up.

1 prescription bottle & cap. Used up finally. As I’ve said before, these bottles are not refillable in California.

And the new plastic waste: 27 plastic envelope windows! Yes,… Read the rest