The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: April 2009

April 30, 2009

Plastic-free Profiles; B2B Deadline; Looking forward to sleep!

A huge thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of my Thank You Video to Oprah. Whether she ever sees it or not, it’s got a life of its own and wants to travel. So please continue to forward it on, especially to people who don’t normally read blogs. I’m trying to find different channels for reaching people about living with less plastic. I love the online community here, but then I step out my front door into a world of disposable plastic and wonder how we can have a bigger impact. If you have other ideas, I am ALL EARS!

Tomorrow afternoon, I’m leaving once again for my semi-annual meditation retreat. As always, it’s much needed. Looking forward to many hours of deep meditation, and by that of course I mean computer-free sleep. Tomorrow, I’ll have a guest post by Lisa Sharp, writing about the challenges of living with less plastic in Oklahoma.

One big announcement: I’m still looking for volunteers to join… Read the rest

April 28, 2009

My Video Thank You to Oprah

Did any of you catch Oprah’s 2009 Earth Day show?

After interviewing Fabien Cousteau about plastic in the oceans, she had a few “Aha! moments”:

Oprah will think differently about using plastic things:

Oprah wants to go beyond washing out her zip lock bags:

I was excited and moved to see this issue garnering the attention of an audience as large as Oprah’s. So moved, in fact, that I wrote her a letter… and then recorded it on video. Now I just have to figure out the best way to reach her with it:

To see a better version, and to leave comments on the video, please click this link:

My belief is that once audiences see the horrific images of what plastic does to the environment, they will want to know what they can do. Let’s let Oprah know that … Read the rest

April 24, 2009

Do you know your life’s purpose?

I am not religious. Although I was raised in the Mormon faith, I currently hold no belief in a personal god or any other type of intelligent creator. I don’t pretend to understand how the universe and everything in it came to be (although I’ve read some pretty cool theories), and I’m (usually) okay with the mystery. I love this planet and this life just as it is and derive meaning without any need for supernatural forces.

I realize many Fake Plastic Fish readers hold different beliefs and that’s fine with me. I only preface my post this way because what I’m about to share and the questions I want to ask you are normally discussed within the context of religion or other spiritual system. But to me, knowing our place and purpose in this life is basic, simple, and completely natural.

So here goes. A few days ago, I was walking home from the BART station very late at night and feeling tired and overwhelmed once again. I’d finished… Read the rest

April 23, 2009

Dear BART EZ Rider Program,

BART’s EZRider program is a great way to take public transit in the San Francisco Bay Area while reducing our plastic waste. Yes, regular BART tickets are made from plastic. Disposable plastic. And they are not recycled. The EZ Rider program replaces hundreds of disposable BART tickets with one refillable card, which is linked to a credit card and reloaded automatically as you use it.

Included with my new card was one piece of plastic I didn’t need. So I’m sending it back to BART with the following note. April 19, 2009

SF BARTEZ Rider Administration Center300 Lakeside Dr, 22nd FloorOakland, CA 94612

Dear BART:

Thanks so much for the new EZ Rider card. I love the EZ Rider system, specifically because it eliminates the waste of disposable plastic BART tickets.

I am returning this plastic carrying case to you because I really don’t need it. I prefer carrying my EZ Rider card in my wallet with the rest of my credit cards.

Perhaps … Read the rest

April 22, 2009


Last Wednesday, at Oakland’s Earth Expo, I asked attendees to fill out green pledge cards vowing to give up some plastic from their lives. Those who pledged were entered in a random drawing for a gift basket, containing all kinds of less-plastic goodies: ChicoBag, reusable water bottle, & bamboo cutlery donated by Whole Foods Oakland; cloth produce bag donated by Green Sangha; LunchBots containers; GlassDharma straw; LaundryTree soapnuts; Ecology Center membership, all donated by those respective companies.

And the winner is: MagdaLena Koper!

Many people took the pledge on Wednesday, and I thought it would be nice to share their responses here. Would you like to take the pledge too? Please leave a comment below. I’ll come up with a small surprise gift for one lucky online winner. To do my part to spare our oceans from plastic pollution and take responsibility for plastic waste, I pledge to replace the following plastic items(s)… Read the rest

April 21, 2009

Addicted to Plastic: must-see film not made by Disney

While everyone’s going nuts about Disney’s Earth (which I fully intend to see), I want to tell you about another film that readers of Fake Plastic Fish should not miss.

Back in January, I had the opportunity to see an amazing film by Ian Connacher called Addicted to Plastic. It’s not showing in any mainstream movie theaters, although it is making the rounds of some environmental film festivals. And until recently, you couldn’t buy the DVD for less than $295. The price and lack of availability were the reasons I waited to review the film here.  But now it’s available via for much less (and if you purchase via this site, I receive a small commission to support my plastic-free endeavors).

Addicted to Plastic is the result of three years of filming in 12 countries on 5 continents, including trips to the North Pacific Gyre with the Algalita crew… the area that has become a plastic soup bigger than the… Read the rest

April 17, 2009

Oakland Earth Expo: Went to Teach & Learned a Few Hard Lessons

I would love to show you the photo of a plastic-bedecked Beth flanked by a class of enthusiastic middle schoolers during Oakland’s Earth Expo on Wednesday. I’d also love to show you the photos I captured of an ironic stray plastic bag in flight over the Expo grounds. Unfortunately, I can’t show you these images because I carelessly left my camera unattended on the display table for a few minutes, and it got bored and ran away.

If you are the person who helped liberate my camera, can you please at least send back the memory card? It’s not worth much, but I’d sure like to have those photos. I’ve already replaced the camera with a much smaller model, one which I’ll keep securely in my pocket next time. (More plastic waste for the tally this week. Another of my less than mindful moments. *Sigh*)

I’m very grateful to the helpful folk who took pictures and sent them to me: Oakland Zero Waste Initiative Team Leader,… Read the rest

April 14, 2009

Throwing up Plastic. It’s the Green Moms Carnival!

Welcome to the April edition of the Green Moms Carnival. Fake Plastic Fish is thrilled to be the receptacle of this Pile of Plastic Posts. And speaking of piles of plastic, did you ever wonder what it feels like to throw up a plastic bag? Then you must see this brand new video (just released today) by Free Range Studios, the guys who brought us The Meatrix and The Story of Stuff. Here is The Bay vs. The Bag:

(If you’re viewing this post via email or reader, you’ll probably need to click onto the blog to see the video. And if the video coughs or stutters the first time you play it, try letting it load fully and then play it again. It’s high res.)

And now, let’s hear what others have to say about plastic!

Marianna from Green Mama’s Pad presents a comprehensive guide to plastics recycling, including a cute video showing a simplified version of the process, as well as facts about bottled water, in her post Recycling Plastic. She also … Read the rest

April 10, 2009

Plastic-Free Soap Nuts

UPDATE: Sadly, LaundryTree has closed its doors.  You can now buy plastic-free soap nuts from Life Without Plastic (and My Plastic-Free Life will earn a small commission), but don’t leave just yet!  This is still a great story about how to get companies to change their packaging.  It also contains practical information about soap nuts and how to use them.

The original post…

Put on your fuzzy slippers. Grab a mug of cocoa. Sit back, and let me tell you a little story about why it’s worth it for us to ask for what we want. There’s free stuff at the end, so hang in with me.

Have you ever done your laundry with soap nuts or been curious to find out how they work? Soap nuts grow on a tree called Sapindus mukorossi (Chinese Soapberry) and contain saponin, a natural surfactant which foams just like soap. I’ve wanted to try soap nuts since I first spotted them in a natural grocery store a couple of years ago but … Read the rest

April 9, 2009

Dear Planet Earth, Are you sad? Or am I just anthropomorphizing again?

Dear Planet Earth,

How are you? I am fine. Well, not exactly fine. I stay up late at night blogging. About you. Sometimes with a glass of organic wine. I’m kind of obsessed with you, actually. Wondering if you’re doing okay. If you’re sad about how we drill into you to fill up our cars, cut down your trees to wipe our butts, remove your mountain tops to keep our lights burning, and pump noxious gases into your atmosphere. Does it piss you off that massive areas of your oceans are filled up with our bottle caps, cigarette lighters, and cheap plastic toys, that coral is dying and beaches are washing away?

A lot of people have ideas about how to save you: recycling batteries, turning the lights off for an hour, or not turning off the lights, watching a movie, carrying our own bags, etc. There are even iPhone Apps to Help Save the Planet. Do these things make you happy?

And will you still be our BFF? We’re giving up buying new plastic and reducing… Read the rest