The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
October 13, 2008

Beth tells conference: We need more plastic-free bloggers!


Returning from Earth Resource Foundation’s “No Plastic Left Behind” conference this weekend, it occurs to me that Fake Plastic Fish is lonely. Look at her swimming by herself in a big polluted fish pond. In the beginning, the only other plastic-free bloggers she knew of were Plasticless.com and Vancouver’s Plastic-Free in 2007. But that gal hasn’t posted since January. (Where are you EnviroWoman?) Then along came other similar souls: Life Less Plastic swimming in Chicago, the Biscuit Queen in New York, Polythene Pam in the U.K. and recently Plastic Is Forever, two gals in New York and L.A. But the plastic-free world needs more voices!

Why?

Because living a plastic-free life depends on what’s available where you live. What I realized after attending the conference in Orange County, CA is that I am very, very lucky to live in the SF Bay Area where natural food stores with their big bulk bins are abundant. I can bring my cloth bags to Berkeley Bowl or Whole Foods or Rainbow Grocery or other places in my area and fill up with all types of flour, pasta, beans, cereals, grains, and even baking soda (one of my personal care and cleaning items of choice) without taking home any packaging, plastic or otherwise, at all. But not everyone has these kinds of resources.

So I think we need more plastic-free and lower-plastic voices in the blogosphere. More people living their lives attempting to go plastic-free and blogging about the challenges that they face. And we need more bloggers writing to companies about their packaging and publicizing the responses. We need teenage bloggers writing about the plastic challenges at their schools (I only just learned this weekend that schools are serving lunches on Styrofoam trays. WTF? In my day we had durable trays that got washed and reused.) And we need more parents blogging about solutions for plastic-free child-rearing.

There are hundreds of green bloggers popping up every day.  And while it’s great that so many bloggers are focusing on environmental issues, the truth is that few of them concentrate primarily on plastic. And plastic is a big problem.

So, here are the steps:

1) Start giving up plastic. Go slow. Make one change at a time. Don’t feel you have to be as hard core as Fake Plastic Fish. Few people in this world are as obsessive compulsive as I am, and that’s probably a good thing! Polythene Pam, for example, eliminates one type of plastic item per month. Do what is reasonable for you.

2) Set up your blog. With Blogger.com, you can do it in minutes.

3) Write about how you are going plastic-free. Let us know your successes as well as your failures. Tell us about what companies you think are helpful and rat out those that are not. It’s your blog. You can write what you want. The main thing is to write at least one post per week. We want to hear you, but we don’t want you to be so over-loaded with blogging that you don’t have time to live.

4) Let others know about your blog.  Contact me, and I’ll link to you. Email other green and plastic-free bloggers and ask them to link to you. This is the way to make your voice heard. I couldn’t have reached as many readers as I have without the help of bloggers like No Impact Man, Crunchy Chicken, Green L.A. Girl, and others who came before me.

5) Spread the word about your blog to friends and relatives. There are many, many people out there who don’t care about the blogosphere. But they’ll read your blog because they know you. Let’s get our voices out of the the echo chamber and into the streets. Or something like that.

Let’s create a world without plastic pollution, one blog at a time, one voice at a time.

What do you say???

27 comments
Josefine
Josefine

Hello Beth! I've been trying to catch up with your blog, from the beginning, since August last year. This is as far as I've gotten, and I was going to put off commenting until I was up-to-date, but... Well. I don't really know how I found your blog, but I must say that it's been an inspiration of epic proportions. All students of the upper secondary school (somewhat similar to the American high school but not really, education for those ages 16-19 in Sweden) must plan and execute a personal project. The amount of work put into this project should be about a hundred hours, and I ended up choosing plastics as my project, with you as an inspiration. My thoughts are a lot similar to yours, and I guess the resulting blog is as well. It is in Swedish, so I don't expect you to read it. :P Nonetheless I have linked to one or two or your posts from there, and if you're wondering what I'm writing about them I can tell you that it is solely positive things. For example, I tried the home-made hand lotion and wrote about it. Still use it, it is wonderful in the nordic climate. This is slightly disconnected, I feel. My English deteriorates rapidly when I am a wee bit nervous, and somehow posting here has become nerv-wrecking. What I wanted to say was that your blog has birthed a change in my life as well, and my commitment to this cause has engaged my family and my friends. I continuously contact businesses and suchlike for my project work, as well as for my own curiosity. I guess what I want you to know is that your awareness of the plastic issue is spreading. Partly, I think, because of your writing. It is both engaging and informative, which causes me to believe that people less interested in plastic than you (and perhaps me also) could find this blog amusing. Keep up the good work, and look forward to comments with better English from me in the future! As soon as I've caught up, haha. .-= Josefine´s last blog ..Konsumentkontakt: Barnängen =-.

ecokaren
ecokaren

I love your mission and your philosophy. I'd love to share our ideas through linking our blogs.Please let me know if you want to.:)www.ecokaren.comKaren

Anonymous
Anonymous

Just getting into blogging since early October, and I came upon your wonderful site...you are an inspiration...our family is slowly beginning to work on the plastic problem in our household...keeping glass containers to use instead of plastic containers, eliminating plastic bags by using cloth bags. I am an aesthetician, so most of my products(cleansers, toners, moisturizers, masques etc. come in plastic containers...at this point I need to do more research on organic products that use glass containers....have you come across any companies that are tuned into the no-plastic containers for their products?? Thanks...Hallie

Steph
Steph

Living in a condo, we are supposed to use plastic bags to dispose of our waste. (We have no composting facilities in the city for apartments/condos.)But we bring home most of our groceries in our backpacks and only get bags for milk and other leaky things. (And we use the bags for our garbage bags.)Your blog really has opened my eyes to the plastic all around me, though I haven't quite figured out how to get it all out of my life!

Cousin Yellowstone
Cousin Yellowstone

I had previously considered writing some blog entries about my efforts to cut down on waste, including plastic waste, but felt embarrassed by my lack of actual success. If I were to write about my most recent attempts, the titles would be along the lines of "Bulk Bins Have Become a Joke: Idiot Cashier Insists I Put Bulk Foodstuffs in Plastic Bags," and "Bar Shampoo: Just Say No!" Now, having read your comments about the need for more people to blog about plastic-free or lower-plastic living, I realize that I should write about the few areas of my life in which I have successfully reduced or eliminated my use of plastic, because there have been a few sweet victories amidst the failures. I'll try to write about some of the victories this weekend. As for letter writing, I'm not good at it, but here's a link to a letter I recently sent to SanDisk about their excessive PVC packaging:http://cousinyellowstone.blogspot.com/2008/10/letter-to-sandisk-about-excessive.html

Clif
Clif

I noticed today that someone had improperly put bagged vegetation in the garbage dumpster. On removing them to put them in the proper composting bin, I noticed the bags were labeled compost-able - in other words they supposedly break down in a compost heap. They are made by a Canadian company called NatureWorks that claims the bags "degrade without leaving any residue". They have a website bagtonature.ca

daharja
daharja

Hi Beth,Where do I start - with two kids under four?Ever looked at the kids toy section? Its almost impossible to find anything that ISN'T plastic!But I'll promise this - I'll do what I can to *reduce* the plastic in my life. Starting NOW.ERK!

Rosa
Rosa

e, I haven't done the research that Beth does, but I shred and compost junk mail...and my compost heap always has lots of little shreds of clear envelope-window material. Seems like if it were water-soluble fiber it would break down, especially after being shredded into little pieces and composted for a year or two.

Gruppie Girl
Gruppie Girl

What type fo non-plastic bags to you bring for bulk foods? How dies that work with weighing? It has always seemed like a waste to fill-up a platic bag and then to dunmp my bulk food in glass containers at home?Plese don't feel sad. There are lots of us bloggers out there who have made HUGE strides in not bringing much plastic into our lives. You have taught me a lot.

knutty knitter
knutty knitter

The idea of a label on plastic posts sounds good Beth. I'll have to ask hubby how it works (ignoramus older person here!)but I'd certainly like that.Same goes for some of the other things I find inspiring. I'm a doer rather than a leader, and according to my friends, an information bureau or as my Dad used to say 'You know almost nothing about everything.'BTW the other tabby is Skilly - short for Skillsaw. She was found in a local rubbish tin as a small kitten.viv in nz

GreenOfficeBlog
GreenOfficeBlog

Kudos to you for taking a stand! I've just noticed within the past few months that canvas shopping bags are popping up in stores everywhere. It's good that so many clothing and grocery store chains are making a concerted effort to reduce their plastic usage. Now if only the CANVAS bags were free and the PLASTIC bags cost money!

E
E

I found this info today:Do I need to remove the windows from my envelopes in order to recycle them?No. Most window envelopes are made out of water soluble paper fibre instead of the plastic that was once used. Recycle these as mixed paper.Whats your info on windows say?

Kellie
Kellie

I'll just agree with the other readers. I already have a Fake (non-plastic) Beth that sits on my shoulder and makes me think things like "Hmm, how does Beth get a new cell phone because mine just came quadruple wrapped in plastic crap?" or "All my make-up comes in plastic containers. I wonder if Beth wears make-up?" It's kinda creepy really.Seriously though... I definitely look at plastic in a different way thanks to you, I just don't blog about it because my efforts stink in comparison!I'm working on it though and will commit to blogging about my attempts to avoid fake plastic crap this holiday season - for myself and as gifts.

Clif
Clif

An update of plastic bagging of recyclables...I have discovered that the recycling company that services my community is so afraid of losing the recycling contract that they will do anything to avoid upsetting residents - including allowing them to continue to plastic bag recyclables instead of leaving the stuff loose (or paper bagged).The company has even gone so far as to hire people to UNBAG plastic bagged recyclables - so instead of trucks unloading directly into the processing stream, everything is dumped so that workers can pick through it and tear open plastic bags! The recycling company eats this cost rather than pass it on to my town...so financially residents who use plastic bags do not suffer the consequences of what they do.The result of this is perverse - more and more folks are using plastic bags and I am having a heck of a time just getting the city to ask residents not to do it on the city recycling webpage!!!It ain't easy being your disciple, Beth, but I'm trying. : )

Timothy Latz
Timothy Latz

Beth, you and FPF are an inspiration to me and lots of other bloggers with your postings. I always consider you the queen of plastic issues =) Keep up the good work.

Mel
Mel

I've started carrying my groceries out of the store in my own two hands or I take the shopping cart to my car and unload it...no plastic bags there. I need to get around to purchasing cloth bags. Thanks for inspiring me!

agreenfire
agreenfire

Beth,You have been a huge inspiration to me and I have made many changes thanks to your solutions. I have switched to cloth napkins since the paper ones come wrapped in plastic. I switched to clothes detergent in a cardboard box instead of a big plastic bottle. I'm mailing the plastic scoop back to the company as soon as the box is empty. This week, I used my own bag at the store instead of one of their plastic shopping bags.There's more to, and a lot of it I blog about on my site. I don't focus exclusively on plastic changes, but thanks to your post today, I am going to devote more of my blogs to the topic.Thanks for educating all of us in how we can strive to live plastic free.

PaintedPath
PaintedPath

Happy birthday kitties!Thoughts are simmering. You've made an impact on me for sure, but I realize you are right...we need more voices. I'll let you know when I make the plunge into the blogosphere. Thanks so much for all your hard work.

axelle
axelle

Happy birthday, Suit Scenario! If there's gonna be a party and the readers of Fake Plastic Fish are invited, it would be a wonderful thing and I will come with ice cream and custard for kittehs. Happy birthday to Chainsaw and his much younger pal to and all FPF cats and kittens.Once again, you've inspired me, Beth. I will write a blog about the use of plastic in dealing with feral and socialized cats and kittens and maybe I will write about the use of plastic in packaging my artwork, but the blog can't' start until I go trapping ferals next week and find out about the plastic involved in the process. Oh, and I must figure out how to create this blog on the dreaded c-c-c-c-computer. The reason I'm announcing this in public is to force myself to do it.

Robj98168
Robj98168

You have a big impact at the Rob home- Like knutty knitter- I have reduce my plastic bag usage tremendously, and thats partly your influence. Also I have changed to Preserve razors and that is your influence as well(Okay they are still plastic but friendlier plastic and I will send my old blades back for re-recycling when they are spent)While I try to do my part- I realize I could do more and better. BTW- I have found a use for all my plastic prescription bottles which I did blog about.Anyway your voice is heard here and greatly appreciatedAnd sammy cat says Happy birtday soots and arya- have a homegrown catnip feast on me. Cant get no nip? chew up a houseplant!

Green Bean
Green Bean

Love this post, Beth. Blogging is a great step toward not only being heard but challenging yourself and getting to know yourself. The more who blog, the more we are all heard.

knutty knitter
knutty knitter

You already had an impact here! A year ago I was filling a large plastic bag with small plastic bags for recycling about once every three months (I already ditched the grocery shopping bags and made faces at my hubby till he remembered to use the cloth bags). Now I put out one bag of recycled small bags about once a year. The last regular hang out is my local butcher who is great and I'm thinking of ways round this and those dratted little produce bags from the vege shop. I think I might be able to help there too with a bit of luck. The owner seems a decent type.I was starting to do stuff anyhow but finding you was what really got me into it.BTW Happy birthday kitties. My young cat also had a birthday but she is 12 and getting old though not as as old as Chainsaw who is now coming up 14.viv in nz

jill
jill

Happy Birthday Kitties!!!Hope you got lots of treats, kisses and plastic free mousies!

SootsandArya
SootsandArya

Y u still not rite about OUR BIRTHDAY???? if u wantz we can rite no-plastic kitteh blog we hates plastic thatz y we chewz it up wen we findz it