The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: January 2009

January 28, 2009

Earth Cinema Circle: A Birthday Present to Myself

Remember when I blogged about how much I loved the film Blue Vinyl? And how I urged everyone to rush out and watch it ASAP? And then remember how I actually ordered the DVD for myself and was disappointed that it arrived inside a big plastic-wrapped plastic case inside a big cardboard box stuffed with plastic air pillows? How ironic when environmental films, especially films about plastic, come packaged in such an environmentally-unfriendly manner.

Fake Plastic Fish reader Anarres Natural Health turned me on to a different kind of DVD company. Earth Cinema Circle is a bi-monthly environmental DVD subscription service that takes its mission seriously. Each DVD contains four films, many of which have never been released commercially, which are prescreened and selected by the staff according to the company’s mission: “to educate, entertain and inspire you to make a difference.”

I signed up and am really excited to watch the… Read the rest

January 27, 2009

Homemade Spicy German Mustard

As promised in the Egg Salad Post, I mixed up some spicy German mustard this weekend, using bulk mustard powder, bulk mustard seeds, and bulk brown sugar from Whole Foods. (Plus the last little bit of mustard powder in a plastic container, which will be included in this week’s tally.) Eventually, I’ll purchase all my spices in bulk once the pre-packaged herbs and spices are used up.

[01/28/2009: It’s come to my attention that there are different interpretations of the term “buying in bulk.” It could mean buying huge containers (plastic or otherwise) of a product. Think Costco. This is not what I mean. It also means bringing your own container to purchase non-packaged food from bulk bins. This IS what I mean. When you purchase this way, you not only save packaging waste, you’re also able to buy the exact amount you need. Check out this new Wiki explaining the difference: from mmmeg… Read the rest

January 26, 2009

Year 2, Week 32 Results: .9 oz of plastic waste.

Hi everybody. I’m home from Hawaii but sick again. Coughing. Fever. Chills. So this will be a quick one.

It’s all new plastic waste this week:

Trader Joe’s toothpaste tube & cap. I wrote about buying this tube of toothpaste back in June. At the time, I thought I could make it last a year. It actually lasted 7 months. Not bad. I even cut it open to get out the last bits of minty goodness.


Seal from around neck of organic peanut butter jar. Once this is used up, I’ll be bringing the jar back to Whole Foods and grinding my own peanut butter.



Plastic wrappers from 3 birthday presents. Obama calendar, Obama DVD, and Slack Key Guitar CD. These were gifts from my family.



3 plastic envelope windows. Kaiser Permanente, Safeco Insurance, and Financial West Group.



Plastic cover from Equity Funds prospectus. Isn’t it bad enough that my IRA is shrinking, shrinking, shrinking in this… Read the rest
January 19, 2009

Aloha! Year 2, Week 31 Results: .1 oz of plastic waste.

Here’s my plastic waste for this week. See it?

This is the view from my parents’ lanai. Have a closer look…

My personal plastic purchases include 3 plastic stickers from some cotton pants and the tag hangers. However, I am staying with my parents this week and eating their food, which means that plastic is involved. I’m avoiding the single-use disposables and frozen convenience foods, but that’s all I’m going to say on the subject. If my dad wants to add a comment here, he’s welcome to!

Saturday, we attempted to pay a visit to the sea turtles.

What we found were powerful high waves

And a turtle-free beach

A few seconds later, one of those powerful waves slapped my butt and soaked me from the waist down.

We’re having a great time! … Read the rest

January 16, 2009

Cutting Waste While Traveling… It’s not so hard.

Aloha from Waikiki! This is my brother David Terry who wanted to help me show you some ways to cut down on waste, plastic and otherwise, while traveling. Displayed are a few essentials that I bring with me everywhere, as well as some things I brought just for the plane.

First, my trusty Klean Kanteen. Yes, you CAN bring an empty Klean Kanteen through security and then fill it up at the drinking fountain in the airport once you get past the guards. This is perfectly legal. The security agents did ask me a couple of times if the bottle was empty, but they didn’t bother looking inside it. And liquids you obtain in the secure area of the airport are never questioned.

But, of course, you can only carry so much water in a Klean Kanteen. This one is 27 ounces. Perhaps I should have borrowed one of Michael’s 40 ouncers.

I also brought my travel mug for coffee throughout my visit. Last year, when I visited my parents here on Oahu, I had no trouble presenting it … Read the rest

January 14, 2009

More BPA! Bisphenol-A in our Kids.

Oct 2013 UPDATE: The resource described in this article, Z Recommends, has ceased operations. ¬†For information on what kids’ products do and don’t contain BPA, check out The Soft Landing’s Safer Product Shopping Guides.

Following my BPA post from 2 days ago, I got a Twitter message from Jennifer Taggart, the “Smart Mama” whose blog I recommended, asking me to also link to the ZRecs Guide for BPA-free info. And then I received a message from ZRecs themselves!

The ZRecs Guide is an intense compilation of research on chemicals in children’s products, focusing on BPA, Flame Retardants, Latex, Lead, Parabens, Phthalates, Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), & Triclosan. It’s a huge database of helpful information. And I especially appreciate that they include PVC — even phthalate-free PVC — because of the environmental hazards… Read the rest

January 14, 2009

Sweet Plastic Birthday Present

Last Wednesday was my birthday. I took off from work and wandered around San Francisco, thinking, dreaming, planning…

Somehow I ended up in a gift shop on Union Street called The Enchanted Crystal. It’s my boss’s favorite place to hang out in the whole world… overflowing with shiny, sparkly, pretty stuff. Lots and lots and lots of stuff. And no dust in sight.

I wasn’t really shopping. There was nothing I needed to buy, although I did end up with a gift for my mom, whose birthday is this Thursday, and a tiny embroidered credit card wallet for myself… something my friends have been urging me to get since I usually just shove my ID and credit cards and money into my pockets loose and hope nothing gets lost.

The point is that I was attracted to the shop by the pretty colors and was just enjoying being there without the need to acquire, when the shopkeeper engaged me in conversation. We chatted about this and that, and I let … Read the rest

January 13, 2009

Bisphenol-A (aka BPA): What is it? Where is it? Why do we care?

Last week, I posted a little video tour of my kitchen in which I made some remarks about BPA in canned foods. I’ve been receiving all kinds of comments and questions about this issue, so I thought I’d address it directly.

Bisphenol-A, commonly known as BPA, is a component of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It’s been the subject of much recent concern as studies have shown it to be an endocrine disruptor that builds up in our bodies over time. Low doses may cause chronic toxicity in humans, posing the highest risk to pregant women, infants, and young children.

Bisphenol-A only poses a risk if it leaches out of the resin and into our bodies. While much focus has been on polycarbonate water and baby bottles, there is a greater danger from the epoxy linings of canned foods because of the high heats at which they are processed.

BPA in Cans

NEARLY ALL CANNED FOODS CONTAIN BPA. This fact came as a surprise to some Fake Plastic Fish readers.… Read the rest

January 12, 2009

Your opinions requested! Plus Year 2, Week 30 Results: 1.9 oz of plastic waste.

Here’s the weekly tally. But please read down to the bottom of the page. I have an Announcement, a Survey, and a Discount Coupon for you.

Plastic used this week but purchased before the plastic project began: 1 bottle of Gulden’s spicy brown mustard. Wow. We’ve had this one for a long, long time. And as I wrote in my last post, I’m going to replace it with homemade mustard so as to avoid a new bottle. Will post the recipe and photos when it’s done! Oh, and no lid included in the tally because while the container is plastic, its lid is metal. It will go in with my metal recycling.

New plastic waste: Spectrum canola oil pull tab & neck wrapper. The bottle of canola oil is glass. The cap and wrapper are plastic.

Frontier Fair Trade Vanilla bottle label. The bottle is glass but the label is totally plastic.

Plastic tag hanger from a new set of metal measuring spoons.

Bandaid from pricked finger.

4 plastic envelope windows. ING … Read the rest

January 9, 2009

Plastic, Glass, Egg Salad, & Global Warming

My lunch today… it illustrates some of the choices (or false choices) we sometimes find ourselves making where the environment is concerned.

I wanted an egg salad sandwich, but I didn’t have any mayonnaise in the house. I could have walked down to the corner store to buy some more, but there I’d be confronted with the choice of plastic or glass jars. I could have simply opted for the glass jar and been done with it, but lately I’ve been hearing from a lot of companies about how their plastic containers are better for the environment because they weigh less and therefore require less fuel to ship.

This is true.

Plastic does weigh less than glass, and it does require less fuel to ship. Perhaps, as far as global warming is concerned, it’s the better choice. But global warming is not our only environmental concern. Plastic, as I’ve written here often, carries with it a whole host of toxicity and pollution issues. And, … Read the rest