The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: March 2010

March 11, 2010

Announcing the Spring Cleaning: Get the Junk Out! Carnival

In the spirit of Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff video and book and her emphasis on simplifying our lives, I’m happy to be participating in a new community blog carnival called “Spring Cleaning: Get the Junk Out!”  (If you haven’t yet read my post from yesterday, please check out my interview with Annie Leonard and find out why she only has to be responsible for 1/6th of the stuff that she and her daughter use.)

About the carnival: For the next 10 weeks, each of the bloggers hosting the carnival (listed below) will take a turn presenting a different theme and linking to participants’ posts on that theme.  There will also be a way for you to link to relevant posts on the same theme, whether posts by you if you have a blog or by someone else whose writing you would like to share.

The carnival is the brain child of blogger and Fake Plastic Fish reader Katie from Kitchen Stewardship, and each week, she will post information… Read the rest

March 10, 2010

It’s About Community: A Conversation with Annie Leonard

Do you know your neighbors? Annie Leonard, creator of the viral video The Story of Stuff thinks you should. In fact, she thinks it’s the number one thing we can do to take back our power as citizens and solve our environmental problems.  In this interview, she explains why, and insists that all of us need to be comfortable with speaking up and letting our voices be heard.

I sat down with Annie in her office in Berkeley two weeks ago, just before the launch of her new book, appropriately titled, The Story of Stufffor a conversation with the woman who has inspired millions around the globe.  If you happen not to be one of those millions because you haven’t yet seen the video, please take twenty minutes out of your day to watch it.   Annie is intense, engaging, and explains where all our “stuff” comes from and how it affects us in a way that powerful in its simplicity.

Some analysts say we have less leisure time than any time since feudal… Read the rest

March 8, 2010

Of Red Carpets, Pop Culture, and Plastic

There are environmentalists who eschew pop culture for its crassness, its commercialism, its emphasis on celebrity over authenticity. I am not one of those environmentalists. Sure, our society’s addiction to overconsumption saddens me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get excited by Lady Gaga or the Oscars red carpet gowns.

Last night was the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony. In the past, Michael and I spread out a red carpet of our own for the annual Oscar bash. Of course, our red carpet was a long red plastic tablecloth. Treacherous in the rain. And equally as treacherous for the environment afterwards. We didn’t know any better.

This year, Rachel McAdams’s dress blew me away. It’s an Elie Saab made from organza and chiffon. Real silk or synthetic? I have no idea.

But these days, plastic and even the suggestion of plastic jumps out at me at every turn. I’m saddened when I see plastic revered by some of my favorite… Read the rest

March 5, 2010

Chemical Antimony Found In Plastic Bottles of Fruit Juice

Most of us know and are concerned about avoiding the “bad” plastics.  Especially when it comes to our food.  Polycarbonate, PVC, Polystyrene.   But until recently, many people have considered PET, Polyethylene Terephthalate (#1 plastic, the type of plastic that water and juice bottles are made from) to be safe.  And while there have been studies suggesting that the chemical antimony can leach from disposable water bottles, especially when exposed to sunlight, heat, and rough treatment, no one had studied other beverages.

Antimony Found In 16 Popular Brands of Fruit Juice

According to a statement released on March 1 from the Royal Society of Chemistry,  42 different juices were tested across 16 brands, and found concentrations of antimony up to a factor of 2.7 above the EU limit for drinking water.  Scientist Claus Hansen speculates that the citric acid in these drinks could act as an extractant, causing more leaching… Read the rest

March 3, 2010

Are Compostable Utensils Really Compostable?

Their names range from the catchy (TaterWare, WheatWare, SpudWare) to the merely descriptive (Compostable utensils, PLA utensils, etc.) And while they are touted as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics, very few of them are actually compostable in a real world situation.

TaterWare

Take, for example, TaterWare, made from potato starch, of course. Many of the eateries in San Francisco provide this brand of take-out cutlery and feel good about it because with San Francisco’s new composting law, these things have the best shot at actually being composted. Trouble is, even if the utensils make it to the compost facility, there is little chance they will truly break down all the way.

A program manager from Golden Gate Disposal and Recycling sent me the following photos of TaterWare that had been through the city’s commercial compost operation (60-90 days):

Let me reiterate: These photos were taken AFTER commercial composting… Read the rest

March 1, 2010

Reducing Plastic Waste: February 2010 Collection Results

6.9oz Plastic Waste [5 oz new/1.9 oz acquired prior to June 2007]

For some reason, February felt like a very, very long month. Gray drizzly days.  And we don’t even get snow here.

Welcome to those who are discovering this blog after watching the segment on ABC7 morning news today.  Every month I collect and tally my plastic waste to see how far I’ve come and what still needs to be done. As I mentioned in my post “8 Reasons Why Personal Changes Matter,” it’s only after looking at our own waste and trying very hard to find alternatives that we can see clearly where the limits are and what companies we need to target or civil actions to engage in. So, here’s February’s tally:… Read the rest