The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: March 2009

March 17, 2009

Plastic into Oil? What do you think?

This just in: Oregon plastics recycler, Agri-Plas, has begun converting plastic waste back into crude oil. According to Businesswire, “the company recently delivered its first full tanker (8,200 gallons) of oil to a refinery in Tacoma, Wash., which translates to a final delivery of 196 barrels of oil.”

The method was developed by Plas2Fuel, a Kelso, Washington alternative energy company.

Until now, Agri-Plas has been a conventional plastics recycler, focusing on agricultural waste such as greenhouse film, nursery pots and plastic binder twine, as well as limited amounts of household plastic waste, which it recycles into other plastic products.

Now, the company is collecting dirty plastic materials which are unsuitable for traditional recycling for the plastic to oil process. And the state of Oregon has been a major supporter of the project, giving financial assistance through the Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit.

Right… Read the rest

March 16, 2009

Cheese Foolery! Year 2, Week 39 Results: .4 oz of plastic waste.

I really let myself get fooled two weeks ago. In a way that I’m sure Organic Needle will understand! You’ll see what I mean in this week’s tally. All new plastic again this week: 1 ZRNet Internet card. I mentioned this one in my post about plastic gift cards. The company has confirmed that this card is not reloadable or recyclable (being a mix of plastic and paper). *Sigh* I won’t be using the Internet at The Coffee Roastery on Union Street again.

Plastic wrap from a Financial West Group mailing. Yet more plastic from this group. Sending it all back before had no effect, apparently.

1 inner cheese wrapper lining from a block of Trader Joe’s Swiss raw milk cave aged Gruyere. The wrapper looked like paper, I swear. In fact, it was paper — on the outside. Secretly, I knew there would be plastic inside. How could there not be? But I decided to risk it, purely for research purposes, of course, so you guys would not be similarly… Read the rest

March 13, 2009

Healthy bodies are good for the environment

The ferocious flu that hit me several weeks ago resulted in quite a few trips to Kaiser Permanente. During one of those visits, I noticed something in the public restroom I’d never seen there before: a green bin and green liner… telltale signs of composting afoot. I moved in to take a closer look. Sure enough… compostable liner and a sign above the bin instructing users to deposit paper towel waste there.

Sick as I was, I had my camera with me and the presence of mind to snap a few shots, while curious restroom users stared. I forgot about this green moment in Kaiser until reading the Ecology Center‘s recent issue of Terrain Magazine on BART this morning, particularly the article, “When More then the Scrubs are Green.”

The piece describes the efforts of some medical institutions, including Kaiser, to reduce waste and switch to environmentally-safer products… from the food they serve patients to the carpets… Read the rest

March 12, 2009

Katie Woollven: Plastic Warrior Extraordinaire

Katie Woollven is a Fake Plastic Fish reader who contacted me in January to say she’d begun her own No Plastic For A Year Project. What’s more, she’s been working in Hawaii for the Hawaii Wildlife Fund’s Marine Debris Project, gathering up marine garbage, mostly plastic fishing nets.

This is a guest post from Katie, written last month, describing that project. Please check out her blog: She’s looking for folks to join her for 1 week of the project as her plastic-free buddy.

About 2 weeks after I met Megan Lamson, she had me lined up with a job doing exactly what I’m interested in. It’s with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund’s Marine Debris Project, and I’m helping her organize beach clean-ups near South Point.

These are not your typical beach clean-ups. My first one was in November and we picked up 5 TONS of garbage, mostly abandoned fishing gear. We have a truck… Read the rest

March 11, 2009

Do you have an Eco Confession?

We did a terrible thing yesterday and will now be stripped of our official green membership card. Actually, Michael did it. But he wouldn’t have if I hadn’t begged him to.

We turned up the thermostat on our hot water heater.

Icebergs will melt and polar bears will be stranded because I couldn’t handle one more luke warm shower. This morning, standing in the steamy heat while my skin turned red and blistered, I thought, “How can something that feels so good be so wrong?” And then I started belting out Like A Virgin.

My mom would totally understand. Here’s a picture of her in Hawaii recently when the temp dropped to a frigid 70 degrees F!

This post has nothing to do with plastic but everything to do with questions about how willing we are to make personal sacrifices to care for the wider world outside our own skins. And my skin was screaming for heat.

Fake Plastic Fish readers sometimes make little comments about how they… Read the rest

March 9, 2009

Year 2, Week 38 Results: .4 oz of plastic waste.

It’s 4:30am and I’m still up. So this tally post will be very short. All new plastic again this week: Packing tape from a package my dad sent. A late birthday present.

Plastic bubble wrap bag from same Dad package.

2 plastic envelope windows. Both Financial West Group.

That’s it.

Tomorrow, I’ll announce the winner of the Lunchbots Duo. Stay tuned. … Read the rest

March 6, 2009

Plastic Gift Cards: Re-use, Recycle, Speak Out!


I’ve been carrying around two plastic movie theater gift cards for over a year. Gifts from co-workers, they are much-appreciated because they represent gifts of experiences (movies) rather than more stuff. The fact that I still have them simply means I need to get out more. But the cards themselves, of course, are made from plastic. And what happens to that plastic at the end of its life? Unlike credit cards which must be destroyed for security reasons, some gift cards can keep on giving.

The Problem

Gift cards are made from PVC, one of the most toxic plastics from cradle to grave. Each year, according to Plenty Magazine, “a whopping 75 million pounds of polyvinyl chloride material from plastic cards enters America‚Äôs waste stream.”

Reduce, Re-use

Several companies (Target, Borders, REI, Wal-Mart) offer biodegradable gift cards made from corn, while others provide reloadable cards, also decreasing the need for new plastic… Read the rest

March 4, 2009

Clothesnik saves plastic, if only dry cleaners would use it!

Way back in October, my friend Doug sent me a Clothesnik canvas garment bag to try out. I finally had a chance to use it last week. We haven’t taken clothes to the cleaners since July of last year! Unfortunately, it took a while to find a green cleaner that would actually use the bag. More on that later. First, I want to tell you about the Clothesnik.

The Clothesnik is a 100% cotton garment bag and laundry bag in one. Toss dirty clothes into it and tie up the bag using the strings at the bottom. Or use it clean as a garment bag to replace the disposable plastic bags the cleaners give out. If you don’t want to pay for the laundry service to clean the Clothesnik bag, wash it at home and return with it to pick up the clean clothes. Or don’t use it as a laundry bag. There are just so many options.

Our problem was finding a cleaner to use it correctly in the first place. A while back I wrote about green cleaner Blue Sky, which uses CO2 to clean clothes, one of the… Read the rest

March 3, 2009

A Jedi is always prepared…

… with her/his reusable travel mug or water bottle. And this post is just an excuse to show off the depths of our geekitude last Saturday at San Francisco’s WonderCon comic book convention.

Really, it was a wonderland of plastic… plastic action figures, plastic-wrapped posters, plastic bags, plastic boobs (I think). We only went for the opportunity to dress up in costumes left over from the short film Reservoir Jedi, made by Michael and his friend Andy several years ago, and for the chance to see what Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher look like up close these days.

But even at a fantasy convention, the rules of Fake Plastic Fish apply. Michael had his Klean Kanteen, I had my travel mug, and we both refused the plastic swag bag offered at the entrance to the fest.

We walked around looking fabulous (I would so totally dress like this every day if I could get away with it) but did not buy anything but coffee. On the way to the convention center, … Read the rest

March 2, 2009

Year 2, Week 37 Results: .3 oz of plastic waste.

All new plastic this week: Plastic baggie from Chinese herbs. At the recommendation of a friend, I visited a Chinese doctor last week (Dr. Ou on Grand Avenue) who performed acupuncture and massage and sent me home with a baggie of herb tea to drink twice a day. I guess I was so amped from the treatment that I didn’t even think to hand back the baggie (as I would have done.) I also didn’t think to ask him what was actually in the tea packets, and as there was a language barrier, I’m not sure he could have told me in English. Isn’t it odd how most of us are extremely careful about what we put in our bodies and yet some of us will take “natural” remedies on faith or the advice of our friends?

Some Ayurvedic medicines have been found to contain lead. Other herbal remedies are toxic in and of themselves. Here’s a list of toxic Chinese herbs. But since I don’t know what was in my tea, I can’t know if it was completely… Read the rest