The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: May 2009

May 29, 2009

Let Them Eat Plastic: SMART Art – Trash Into Treasure

If Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake,” back in the 18th Century, I wonder what she’d say now confronted with sea birds and turtles starving on our plastic waste. Such were the kinds of thoughts I had last night viewing the new exhibit, SMART Art — Trash Into Treasure, at the Lincart Gallery in San Francisco. A project of David de Rothschild’s Adventure Ecology Sculpt the Future Foundation, the SMART Art competition invited artists to show the world how discarded objects could be reused and reimagined into works of art. Tim Dey’s “Ghost of Versailles” was one of those entries. Made from used plastic packing supplies, bubble wrap, drop cloths, aquarium tubing, and soda bottle bottoms, his costume put my Bay to Breakers Sea Monster to shame.

But personally, I was rooting for the work of plastics activist surfer and new friend Kathleen Egan’s “Plastic Wave.” Made from… Read the rest

May 27, 2009

Is it True?

Got back from Santa Cruz and have been going non-stop ever since. Have some really cool plans for Fake Plastic Fish and no time to execute any of them this week. Don’t even have time to post any of your guest posts! Gotta run. In the mean time, how about taking a few minutes to think about (and comment on, if you want) the following question:

Is there one main reason/excuse/explanation you tell yourself to get out of doing things that seem like a challenge? (A couple of mine, for example, are that I’m too tired or that I have too much to do. See above. *Smile*) And then ask yourself sincerely, “Is it true?” … Read the rest

May 22, 2009

General Housekeeping & off on vacation

I’ve got a bunch of random housekeeping items to share (in no particular order) and then I’m off with Michael to get away from the computer for a few days and enjoy trees, fresh air, ocean waves, and perhaps a terrifying roller coaster ride or two. Can anyone guess where we’re going?

Item #1: “Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge” update: Your plastic tallies have been flying in this week. Hurrah! I haven’t had time to look at all of them yet, but I’ve got them and will start posting them next week. I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys have come up with and what ideas you have about the plastic in your lives. (If for some reason you don’t want your tally posted here publicly, please be sure and let me know!) And if you haven’t taken the challenge, there’s still plenty of time to join up. Read the original post for the rules.

Item #2: I’ve been getting lots of offers for guest… Read the rest

May 21, 2009

Bulk Bins: If you had them, would you use them?

When I talk about buying in bulk, I’m not talking about huge containers of dried oregano from Costco or massive bags of chips. I am talking about this…

Rows of bins containing pasta, beans, grains, flour, sugar, chips, dried fruit, cereal, and sometimes tofu, peanut butter, olive oil, and personal care products like shampoo or soap, from which you can fill up your own reusable bags and containers, eliminating packaging waste. Last Week, Chicago blogger Jeanne from Life Less Plastic wrote about being envious of San Francisco Bay Area stores that provide so many of these bulk options.

But even here in the Bay Area, we could use more bulk options. Just this week, I wrote to a co-president at Whole Foods asking that they expand their bulk section to match some of the other bulk food stores in the region. (I asked, of course, for my own selfish reasons. Whole Foods is closer to me than Berkeley Bowl, the king of bulk in the East Bay.)

And then I got … Read the rest

May 20, 2009

My Kids — The Joy and the Plastic: A Guest Post from Amber Strocel

The following is a guest post by blogger Amber Strocel who contends with child-related plastic. She’s found quite a few plastic-free alternatives and would like to hear your suggestions for ways to further reduce.

I’m Amber, and I’m a married mom living in Metro Vancouver, Canada. I am a big fan of Fake Plastic Fish, so I am very excited to write a guest post! You can normally find me on my own blog at where I write a lot about my life in the suburbs with my two beautiful children. My daughter Hannah is four years old, and baby Jacob is 9 months. They are the light of my life, the source of great joy, the apple of my eye. All that good stuff. They also use a lot of plastic. Potty chairs, car seats, baby bathtubs, dishes, toys, the list is more than a little overwhelming.

I’ve always been environmentally conscious, or at least moderately so. I didn’t have many concerns with plastic in particular, though, until April … Read the rest

May 19, 2009

Leatherback Sea Turtle friends Plastic Sea Monster at Bay to Breakers 2009 and both win!

No plastic tally this week. Didn’t have time or energy to do it Sunday after WINNING THE COSTUME CONTEST AT THE 2009 BAY TO BREAKERS!

(I’ll add last week’s plastic to my next tally.)

Eli Saddler of and I participated as a leatherback sea turtle and the plastic that kills it in an effort to bring awareness to the problems of plastic in the ocean and encourage Bay to Breakers attendees to bring their own bottles… next time. Mostly, we just had fun. Well, I did. Eli was sweating buckets in his sea turtle costume made of polar fleece from recycled plastic bottles. Who knew the weather in San Francisco would suddenly be so warm?

Click the above image to see our costumes up close. Here’s a short video of the day. We had a blast, and winning in the “Green” division of the costume contest is worth the sunburn I’ve got now. (And yes, I had my sunscreen with me, and no I didn’t remember to apply … Read the rest

May 16, 2009

Coming to Bay to Breakers tomorrow? Bring your own (H2O) Bottle!

For Immediate Release

Costumed Crusaders Ask Bay to Breakers Runners to BYOB – Bring Your Own Bottle for Water, That Is.

Anti-plastic environmentalists to promote reducing and recycling plastic during B2B 2009

Contact: Beth Terry, Fake Plastic Fish, beth[at]fakeplasticfish[dot]com Eli Saddler, OceanHealth.Org, eli[at]oceanhealth[dot]org

San Francisco, CA – May 17, 2009 – Bay to Breakers hosts the “world’s largest footrace” annually with as many as 100,000 runners and can generate vast amounts of plastic pollution that harms our oceans. During the event, many participants opt for bottled water in single-use plastic containers instead of bringing their own reusable water bottles. This year, anti-plastic environmentalists are attending Bay to Breakers as costumed crusaders to remind participants to bring their own reusable water bottles and bags to the event rather than using single-use plastics.… Read the rest

May 14, 2009

Anna & Marcus: Biking to do some very important work.

It’s Bike-to-Work Day here in the Bay Area, and I’d like to tell you about a couple of bicyclists who are taking it very seriously. Since April 5th, Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen have been on the road, biking from Vancouver to Tijuana on the last segment of their Message In A Bottle tour that began with a research expedition with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation to study the plastic garbage patch in the North Pacific Gyre and continued with another trip to the Gyre — this time aboard a raft built of 15,000 plastic water bottles. On both trips, they found floating masses of netting, bottles, and buoys, and plastic fragments in the flesh of common prey fish.

Marcus and Anna are now riding their bicycles down the West Coast to spread the word about the plastic plague and explain what we can do to reverse the tide of pollution. Their presentation includes slides and actual samples of the “plastic soup” they found in the Pacific.… Read the rest

May 13, 2009

Waste is a Luxury: A Guest Post from Laura Zilverberg

The following is a guest post from Fake Plastic Fish reader Laura Zilverberg, who responded immediately to my request this week for new voices on Fake Plastic Fish. Enjoy her powerful post comparing her experience of waste in Mexico vs. the United States.

Hello Fake Plastic Fish Readers,

I am a 23-year-old resident of Phoenix, Arizona. I am originally from Minnesota and moved out here for the weather college. I wanted to be a broadcast major, but decided very quickly that the industry wasn’t for me. Instead I majored in public relations and am finishing up my certification in nonprofit management. I spent 2008 volunteering at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos Mexico (NPH): a home for about 1,000 orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children. I was one of three primary caretakers for 29 girls in their 2nd year of secondary school, in other words, teenagers.

About the same time I discovered Fake Plastic Fish and realized the need to reduce my own use … Read the rest

May 12, 2009

Challenge: Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash!

Beth throws down the gauntlet, upon which Soots proceeds to gnaw. Nom nom nom! It is plastic, after all. Yummy!

So as you all know, I’ve been collecting and tallying my own plastic trash for almost two years. The experience has been educational for me, and I hope, for readers of this blog. I’ll keep doing it. But now it’s your turn.


1) Collect all of your own plastic waste for a minimum of one week. (Longer is okay, too, but try to separate out the weeks’ collections.) What qualifies as yours? Anything that benefits you. So, if your housemate or significant other brings home a tub of yogurt that you both share, the tub goes in your tally. But if you hate yogurt, never touch the stuff, and wouldn’t have bought it for yourself in a million years, it’s not your responsibility. What about stuff for your kids? I’ll leave that up to you. Whatever you decide, just be consistent about collecting it. Personally,… Read the rest