The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: January 2009

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.

We like our mustard with some heat, so I followed this recipe for Spicy German Mustard on About.com:SouthernRead 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 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

January 5, 2009

Do you ever get embarrassed?

On Friday, I was happy to hang out with a journalist who is writing a book on plastic and wanted to know what it’s like to try and live plastic-free. So we had lunch together and chatted, and then she followed me to the butcher shop where I take my stainless steel pot to buy chicken for my cats. At some point after I’d handed the butcher my container, she asked if I ever get embarrassed. I guess she was referring to my being the only customer bringing my own container and asking for this kind of special service.

My flippant answer was, “No. Once I turned 40, I stopped being embarrassed.” And while I do believe that with age and experience many of us give up worrying so much about the opinions of strangers, there is always a certain amount of discomfort inherent in being the first to do anything. We want to know we’re not alone. We want to feel assured that someone else has had the same or similar ideas as us and that while our choices may… Read the rest