The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: June 2009

June 30, 2009

Fixing my Blue Plastic Umbrella

Plastic is good for some things, right? Like keeping us dry in the rain. A few months ago, Treehugger posted an article about eco-friendly umbrellas ranging from those made from recycled plastic to one touted as the first biodegradable umbrella. So when my little blue umbrella broke, I considered replacing it with one of those — until I remembered that the most eco-friendly choice would be to repair the one I have!

The problem: One of the umbrella’s ribs was broken. (I now know it’s called a rib after Googling “parts of an umbrella.”)

Upon close inspection, I could see that a Springy Part A needed to go back into Straight Part B.

But how to hold them together? Michael came up with the brilliant idea of using a straightened paperclip. And voilà!

I twisted the paperclip with pliers to hold it in place and bent it in a circle to keep it from puncturing the umbrella.

And here’s the finished product, complete… Read the rest

June 29, 2009

Kathleen Egan: Surfing the Plastic Wave

Kathleen Egan — surfer, artist, and environmental activist — heads up SF Surfrider’s Plastics Subcommittee, which is working to end the plague of plastic pollution in our oceans. I first met her last month displaying her Plastic Wave sculpture (made from the collected plastic of 12 friends over two weeks) at Adventure Ecology’s SMART Art competition.

We met again this past Friday and ended up hanging out at San Francisco’s Pier 29-1/2 (where David de Rothschild is building his Plastiki boat from recycled plastic) after an unfortunate collision between a U-Haul trailer and a metal warehouse gate. Sitting and waiting for the repair people to arrive gave us a chance to see a glimpse of the Plastiki in progress, play with a couple of cute dogs, and enjoy the sun while chatting about all things plastic.

Kathleen began surfing in 2001 after moving to San Francisco and having a surfer friend take her under his wing, and … Read the rest

June 26, 2009

Kids Less Plastic: A Guest Post from Deborah Hladecek


Deborah Hladecek is newly committed to reducing plastic in her family’s life. And living in Northern California, she’s practically my neighbor. So I was thrilled when she offered to write a guest post about what she’s been doing about the plastic in her child’s world. Deborah writes the truly awesome Pure Mothers blog. She also participated in the Show Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge this month. It was an eye-opening experience for her. Check out her stash.

When Beth at Fake Plastic Fish asked for more bloggers to write about plastic, I thought, what could I possibly have to say that she hasn’t said already? She’s the plastic-free goddess! Then my toddler clamored and clawed his way on to my lap to see what I was doing on the computer and I realized that I have another perspective – the mommy view. Beth has her cats, and I have another human being using more resources and contributing to my plastic consumption.… Read the rest

June 24, 2009

Please Give Just $1 For The Charities That You Help To Choose

7/08/09 UPDATE: The poll and donation drive is over. The winning organizations are Water for People and Sustainable Harvest. A total of $643 was raised. Thanks for voting and contributing!

Hi all. A few weeks ago, I was approached by my friend David who blogs at He and Adam from Twilight Earth had the idea to create an easy way for a few of us bloggers to raise money for an environmental organization doing good work, asking our readers to contribute $1 and vote on which organizations will benefit. Below is the official campaign announcement. I hope you’ll find it in your hearts to participate in this easy fundraiser.

As writers, we know that part of good stewardship is sharing information, but even the most intelligent among us can not make change without DOING something. So The Good Human, Twilight Earth, Grass Stain Guru, Lighter Footstep, My Green Side, The Smart Mama, A Little Greener Every Day, Fake Plastic Fish, AlliesRead the rest

June 22, 2009

Organic food in plastic packaging: Isn’t it ironic?

Arriving late to the Elmwood Theater Saturday night for the film Food Inc, Michael and I were stuck in the front row with our necks craning to see the screen. Believe me. It was worth it. Even if you’ve already read The Omnivore’s Dilemma or Fast Food Nation, seeing images of downed cattle, abused chickens, and mistreated factory workers up close brings the subject home on a visceral level.

But in addition to needing a reminder of why I should avoid fast food and support our farmer’s markets, I had an ulterior motive. I wanted to see if the film addressed any issues of plastics in the environment and in our food supply. And it kind of did, in a very subtle and ironic way. One of the interviewees in this film is Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm Organic, the third largest producer of yogurt in the U.S. A glimpse of the Stonyfield plant as well as a walk through the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, CA showed row after row of plastic containers.… Read the rest

June 19, 2009

Confession of a Fast Food Addict who ate at Amanda’s and forgot to BYO.

The theme of the Green Mom’s Carnival this month is Eco-Confessions. And I have a big one. I love fast food. Every time I pass a McDonald’s I have to close my eyes and count to ten to keep from going in and ordering a double cheeseburger. This fact probably grosses some of you out. And when I think about what a McDonald’s double cheeseburger is made of, it grosses me out too. But it’s hard to think about the cows and environmental degradation wrought by the meat industry (and the mono-culture GMO corn industry) when I catch a whiff of those burgers sizzling on the grill.

But that’s not really my confession. Because mostly, I manage to resist that McDonald’s urge that was instilled in me as a child through no fault of my own. I resist and resist. And the few times a year I succumb, I get out with no bag, no napkin, no cup or straw or ketchup pack. I do try to mitigate the damage as much as possible because I’m always prepared… Read the rest

June 18, 2009

The Discovery of a Challenge

The following is a guest post from Fake Plastic Fish reader Diana McLennan who finds that pretending she’s on the show Little House on the Prairie is a fun green motivator. Diana joined the Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge a few weeks ago.

I’m a single girl in my twenties in Los Angeles, working in what’s essentially the legal department of an entertainment company. The building I work in is actually quite progressive in the “green” arena—they just installed a ginormous field of solar panels–and it was an article in the weekly company newsletter that jumpstarted my current obsession with minimizing my carbon footprint—which, of course, includes avoiding plastic. (Getting the word out DOES make a difference!)

The article was on green issues and mentioned a few blogs -— like No Impact Man —- written by people who weren’t content with just chucking things in the recycling… Read the rest

June 17, 2009

Plastic-Free Stain Remover & other Laundry ideas

Lunch at Oliveto with my friend Simone last Saturday was great fun. Too much fun. I laughed so hard, I spilled coffee all over the table and all over my sleeve. Normally, I’d just take it home and “Shout it Out.” But not this time. This past week, I ran out of the plastic bottle of Shout I’d been using for the last two years and was determined to find a plastic-free alternative.

But the plastic bottle was not my only concern. Do you know what chemicals are in Shout? Terrible nasty ones or perfectly benign? Unless you work for S.C. Johnson, you’re as clueless as I am because the company doesn’t reveal it’s ingredients. Here’s the FAQ from the Shout web site:

Q. What are the ingredients in Shout®? A. We can’t give away our “trade secrets,” but we can say that Shout® Laundry Stain Removers are detergent based with powerful cleaning agents. Shout® does not contain any phosphates… Read the rest

June 12, 2009

What do you think about cell phones? Should I switch to Credo?

Cell phones. I have one. Through AT&T. It’s a Sony Ericsson Z525a that I bought 3 years ago, choosing this model because compared to the others offered at the time, it lasted the longest before needing to be recharged. (Talk time up to 9 hours and standby time up to 400.) It’s not special. It does have a crappy camera, but that’s about the only “extra.” No fancy keyboard. Not much in the way of web browsing. It’s fine. And it still works just fine.

Okay, now I know cell phones give off radiation and we are advised to keep them away from our heads. (I still don’t have a headset for mine. Just like I rarely use sunscreen. Tempting fate?) And I know there are all kinds of environmental issues around manufacture and disposal of cell phones, the very least of which is that they are made from plastic. Most of them are also full of toxic heavy metals.

I hadn’t even considered trading in my perfectly good phone (and… Read the rest

June 10, 2009

I would walk 500 miles: A guest post by Sunny Yukon

The following is a guest post from Fake Plastic Fish reader Sunny Yukon. All I can say is that I wish I were this funny!

Coincidentally I was listening to this song by The Proclaimers yesterday.

By the end of the day I fell down at my door. I was exhausted!

I helped my son with a fundraising activity his scout troup was doing yesterday evening. Roadside clean-up. We were assigned a 3+ kilometre stretch of highway, given orange vests and garbage bags, and told it should be about three hours of work for our group to earn $500. And off we went!

Three hours later, we were a little over 1/2 done. The full-sized pickup we had was filled with bags of trash. The leader said it was the most trash he’d ever seen doing this fundraiser.

There wasa bike with a trashed food wrappersnewspaperspaper cupsStyrofoamhubcapsblown tiresgas capsgas cansplastic wrappingbungee cordswireplastic lids from paper cupsstrawsunderwearpop cansbeer bottlesflyersplastic… Read the rest