The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: February 2009

February 27, 2009

Showing Some LunchBots Love & Quitting My Tupperware

Holy crap! Just last week I was having a nervous breakdown over buying new stuff, and here I am promoting a new product. Again. What can I say? I am human, and this product is awesome.

100% stainless steel LunchBots containersare the brainchild of Jacqueline Linder, a kindred spirit who was sick of plastic and wanted to do something about it. She developed LunchBots as an alternative to plastic lunch containers and plastic baggies. Her approach is an example of the Precautionary Principle in action, as demonstrated in the “Why Avoid Plastic?” section of her site. It’s also very reasonable.

Jacqueline sent me two LunchBots models to try out: the LunchBots Uno and LunchBots Duo. The Duo is divided into two compartments — great for small snack or side dish portions. The Uno is one single sandwich-sized compartment. Before she sent them, I asked about one of my favorite subjects: shipping materials. Here’s what she … Read the rest

February 26, 2009

Antimony: Another reason to avoid bottled water… and polar fleece?

Bottled water sucks. Aside from the moral issue of privatizing what should be a public trust, the plastic containers are made from oil, a non-renewable resource, and last virtually forever in the environment. We know this. We know about the waste from plastic water bottles and the fuel that it takes to ship them. We know we should be drinking tap water and filling up our reusable bottles if we want it to go.

But some of us, taking the REDUCE, REUSE mantra to heart, refill those disposable plastic water or soda bottles instead of using a non-plastic container. It’s one way to keep plastic out of the landfill, right? True, but it might not be the healthiest idea.

Last night, Martin from the Plasticless blog posted a video demonstrating how to boil water in a plastic bottle (the typical #1 PET disposable bottle) and wondered if this practice was safe. He, like most of us, had heard that heating food in plastic is a no-no, yet he had stumbled upon instructions… Read the rest

February 25, 2009

Mowing My Weeds: Why Buy When You Can Borrow?

This was our postage stamp-sized front yard on Saturday. Michael and I thought it was pretty. But I was concerned that neighbors would report it as a hazard. The flowers weeds were over a foot tall and harboring who knows what furry little beings. Something had to be done, and I was not ready to pull it up and start our veggie garden.

I decided to just mow the weeds and leave some green. But we don’t own a lawn mower. Remembering my success with the Craiglist crockpot, I once again subscribed to a Craislist search, this time for “push mower.” But after several weeks without success, I decided to just go ahead and buy a new one. Michael, bless his conscientiously frugal heart, talked me out of it. “Beth,” he said, “How often do we ever have to mow? You’re going to buy a mower for the one time a year when we actually have rain and the plants grow by themselves?”

He was right. Still, I didn’t want to pull up … Read the rest

February 24, 2009

Fixing my Fake Plastic Pillow

As part of the spring cleaning that happened in our house last week, and to rid our space of the germs that have been plaguing us, I decided to wash my pillow. In the washing machine. And then dry it in the dryer. Which turned out to be not such a great idea, actually. The (fake plastic) stuffing did a little dance and ended up completely discombobulated.

Unable to bear the thought of tossing the pillow (which of course means adding it to my plastic collection), I slept on it like this for several nights and ended up with a sore neck. It was like laying my head down on a cinder block.

Not being the DIY queen that many of you are, sometimes I am oblivious to the obvious. Thankfully, there are other bloggers who can help. So, searching┬áthe Internet, I found instructions for using a fresh pillow case to create a newish pillow from the old stuffing. My pillow’s cotton case was in fine shape, so I was able to reuse it after fixing the stuffing inside.

I realize the … Read the rest

February 23, 2009

Year 2, Week 36 Results: 49.6 oz of plastic waste. Why do kitties eat plastic?

Why oh why do kitties eat plastic fleece? Last August I retired a holey red fleece blanket that the kitties had been chowing down on. Now, here’s the blanket we’ve used as a throw on our sofa for several years. I bought it long before I began avoiding new plastic. 100% polyester. Yummy!

Here’s the tally:

Items bought before the plastic project began:

1 holey 100% polyester fleece blanket. I think this is the last plastic blanket. We have plenty of others in our home made from natural fibers. This one will be replaced with a wool blanket that Michael bought back when he first moved to the Bay Area. It’s still in good shape, and so far, the kitties have not tried it for dessert. (Although we have found some suspicious holes in a pair of wool slippers I knitted for Michael, so we’ll see.)


2 ancient ant traps. Found by the housecleaners last week while cleaning the kitchen.

New plastic waste this week:

Plastic bag of World’s… Read the rest
February 20, 2009

House Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning, & Kid-Safe Chemicals


I don’t think our toilet was this clean when we first moved in to our apartment. I personally have scrubbed and scrubbed with a brush and been unable to remove the mineral stains. Not that I’m a great housekeeper. I’m not. In fact, I suck. And Michael does his best, but you know, we just have other priorities. So Monday, to celebrate President’s Day, we had our place cleaned from top to bottom by the eco-friendly members of Natural Home Cleaning Professionals.

I say “members” because Natural Home Cleaning is a worker-owned cooperative whose goal is to support families to be economically self-sufficient. The company serves the San Francisco East Bay from Southern Richmond to Fremont. Workers are trained in natural cleaning techniques, encouraged to start with the least toxic products (like vinegar and water) and slowly work up to stronger products as needed. The strongest cleaner used is … Read the rest

February 19, 2009

Guilt, Gratitude, & Glass

A couple of weeks ago, I bought ten brand new Anchor glass refrigerator containers, similar to the vintage variety mom had. I found them at my local Container Store for the lowest price, and if there had been more of them in stock, I might not have stopped at just ten.

The containers and lids are made of glass, packaged in cardboard, with zero plastic. Nada. And they are sturdy, able to survive freezer, oven, microwave, & dishwasher without complaint. Each holds exactly one day’s worth of homemade cat food for Soots and Arya, unlike the repurposed plastic containers I had been using which were all different sizes and shapes and generally a pain in the neck to fill and to stack.

So why the guilt?

Because I don’t buy new things unless they are necessary! I found a used crockpot, used computer monitor, used litter boxes and cat carriers. I certainly could have found truly vintage glass containers similar to these on eBay or Craigslist or in… Read the rest

February 18, 2009

Saving the Planet (aka Plastic, a**holes!)

If you haven’t seen George Carlin’s infamous rant about the arrogance of thinking we can “save the planet,” you should. It’s here on YouTube. But I warn you: it’s not for the faint of heart, delicate of sensibility, or young of age. I haven’t embedded it in this post because I don’t want to be accused of corrupting the young. Again. (Hi Hayley.)

Here’s a sample, (one of the few bits without four-letter words) as Carlin begins his unique rap about plastic: The planet has been through a lot worse than us… been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages, and we … Read the rest

February 15, 2009

Year 2, Week 35 Results: .3 oz of plastic waste.

Happy belated Valentine’s Day. If I hadn’t bought a bottle of wine this week, I’d only have a few plastic windows from envelopes in my tally. And here it is.

All new plastic waste this week: Plastic stopper from a bottle of Gnarly Head 2006 Old Vine Zinfandel. I’ll be adding this bottle to the Wine List and won’t buy it again. If you weren’t a Fake Plastic Fish reader when I wrote about natural cork stoppers vs. plastic stoppers, please click here.

4 plastic envelope windows. 3 Kaiser Permanente envelopes & 1 more Peace Action.

Back in September I wrote about learning to sleep. I still have not mastered the hang of this skill that most humans seem to perform effortlessly. But this article I recently read in Glamour Magazine (while hanging out at newsstand waiting for friends) has given me a new incentive to get more rest. Melatonin is helping, even though it comes in a plastic bottle. (Prescription sleep aids… Read the rest

February 13, 2009

Gimme5, Brita, Preserve, and You!

Can you believe that the day this photo was taken I was so sick I could barely stand up?

I wrote all about the culmination of the Take Back The Filter campaign in a post on the Take Back The Filter web site, but I forgot to write about it here… until today. Michael woke me up from a sound sleep this morning with the news that I and the campaign had made the front page of a very important newspaper. Better than the NY Times, I made our local East Bay Express.

Seriously, the article “The Blogger and the Bleach Company” is very well-written and balanced, describing the reasons behind the campaign as well as its results. And reading it, I realize how important it is now that the recycling program has been created that we support it and make sure Brita users know it exists. If no one actually returns their filters for recycling, the program could fail and be discontinued.

Here’s the deal: Preserve has created a recycling program called Gimme5Read the rest