The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: September 2010

September 30, 2010

Green Shipping Materials, Including Plastic-Free Paper Packing Tape


Before companies send me products to review, I always request that they not use any plastic packaging, including tape. Some comply. Others have a hard time with it, and their packaging ends up in my tally. I’m writing this post not only to help Fake Plastic Fish readers make plastic-free packaging choices, but also to have a web page to which I (and you!) can direct vendors when asking for no plastic packaging. Just trying to make life easier for all of us.

So, here are the options:

Re-Use Shipping Materials

The greenest option will always be to reuse what you already have.


Paper Packing Tape


I buy plain paper tape that tears off easily from the roll. I bought this tape at a local office supply store.

The tape is water-activated. I tear off a strip and run it under the sink to wet.  Since I don’t ship packages very often, I don’t feel the need for a tape dispenser.  But retailers may want to invest in one.

Then, I use the… Read the rest

September 28, 2010

Book Review: The True Adventures of Foamy and Leafy


Foamy and Leafy is a kids’ book about the plastic in the North Pacific Gyre.  This review is a guest post by plastic-free blogger,  Linda Anderson, who blogs at Citizen Green  She’s filling in for me today while my eyes heal.  Please stop by her blog and leave comments or suggestions.

Several months ago I was surfing the web to find children’s literature about the issue of plastic debris in the ocean and I came across this comic book called, The True Adventures of Foamy and Leafy.  Foamy and Leafy are two pieces of colorful plastic foam that were glued to a Halloween pumpkin by a child.  The pumpkin rotted and decayed, but the pieces of plastic, being very non-degradable, blew away with the wind.

Foamy blew into a small creek and eventually ended up in the Atlantic Ocean.  She actually floats through the Panama Canal and ends up in the Pacific Ocean.  Leafy blew away and got stuck to a … Read the rest

September 24, 2010

Innkeeper HEARTS Green Guests


A guest post by Alexandra Grabbe. 

My husband and I have been green innkeepers on Cape Cod since 2004. The name of our B&B is Chez Sven, and our blog is Chezsven Blog: Wellfleet Today.

Over the years, we have learned to target green guests, who care about the environment, turn out lights when they leave a room, and recycle plastics, cardboard, and glass.

Unfortunately, not everyone who visits has this mindset. We have had a number of eco-conscious guests born in the USA, but the majority come from abroad: England, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, The Netherlands. I am always fascinated to hear about a country’s recycling policies and expectations for eco-travel.

I think Beth would like living in Germany, where the municipality makes recycling easy. There are bins on street corners in major cities. They have it down to a science, according to German guests, who never fail to separate out paper, cardboard, and plastic before leaving their rooms here… Read the rest

September 23, 2010

I Wish I Could See You


But I can’t because I’ve worn out my eyes in front of the computer, and I can’t see anything right now. Good thing I can touch type. But seriously, I need some help. My doctor suggested I go back to using the plastic-encased eye drops I used a few years ago when I had a cornea problem. So I did. And they didn’t even work. *Sigh*

Does that picture look blurry?  Because honestly I can’t tell.  My eyes refuse to focus.  Yesterday, I was looking at various fonts for a project I was working on, and I thought, “Ooh, that one looks nice.  It has a drop shadow under it.”  Um, a drop shadow that only I could see!

Some people would say I have Computer Vision Syndrome.  Eyes sore and red.  Double vision.  Headache.  I’ve had this problem intermittently for a few months now, but this week is the worst.  I know I need to lay off straining my eyes for a while.  But with the eye problems I’ve had in the past, I … Read the rest

September 20, 2010

Logitech Webcam C210: More Packaging than Product


I’ve been looking for a webcam for a while because I want to be able to meet with people via Skype rather than travel to meet up in person. I’ve done way too much flying this year, and all those emissions are weighing hard on my conscience.

I hoped to find a secondhand webcam rather than buying a new one. But after an unfortunate incident with a Radio Shack employee last month, I ended up with a $20 store credit and nothing else to spend it on. So I applied the credit toward the purchase of a very basic Logitech webcam.

Check out what Arya and I found when I got home and opened the box:

The camera, install disk, and instruction manual together weigh 4.3 ounces. The packaging material weighs 4.4 ounces — more than the product itself! The plastic window will be added to my tally in September. The cardboard box will go into the recycling bin. But I can’t let that be the end of the story.  Some small amounts of packaging are unavoidable,… Read the rest

September 18, 2010

August 2010 Plastic Waste Tally

4.2 oz Plastic Waste [4.2 oz new/0 oz acquired prior to June 2007]

I like looking at my plastic collection at the end of each month because it reminds me of some of the experiences I had. August’s collection is about fun times in New York City and even more fun times in my laundry room.

Beth’s August plastic waste collection

New plastic waste (4.2 oz):

Plastic NY City Metro Card. Like BART tickets out here in the Bay Area, NYC Metro cards are refillable, but they are also made from plastic and can’t be recycled. Plastic drink cup, straw, and condiment cup and lid. You rarely ever see this kind of stuff in my tally. I thought I was doing so well, until Heather Clisby and I took a break from the BlogHer conference. Downstairs at Ha! Comedy Club, we laughed our heads off and, in compliance with the 2 item minimum, ordered snacks and drinks. My mozzarella sticks came with a plastic container of tomato sauce, and my sparkling water (which I… Read the rest
September 16, 2010

How to Take Apart and Clean a Stinky Kenmore (Whirlpool) Top Loading Washer


Seems like this is the year for smelly appliances and DIY solutions. A few months ago, it was dishwasher funk. And then recently, we noticed a linty residue on our clothes and a moldy smell coming from the washing machine. (The residue was not laundry powder; we use soapnuts.)

So, how is fixing a washing machine related to plastic? Well, we did end up with some plastic waste during the week-long ordeal. And learning to fix things in general is one of my strategies for avoiding new purchases and hence, new plastic. But really, I’m just so tickled that I was able to take the whole thing apart, clean it, and put it back together again, that I have to share!

This post will be long and winding and contain a lot of pictures. Hopefully it will be funny, too, because who doesn’t enjoy a good washing machine repair story? And since I spent a ton of time on the web looking up parts and procedures and advice, I’ve included a list of all the resources I found… Read the rest

September 9, 2010

Help! New blogger needs easy vegetarian recipes with local, plastic-free ingredients


Lori Wark doesn’t know how to cook.  Well, she claims she can’t cook. 

I met Lori via Skype a few months ago working with the Plastic Pollution Coalition, and I met her in person this summer while visiting my family on the East Coast.  We had an excellent breakfast at a local diner in Bethesda, MD, and Lori told me about the new web site she’s created, Adventures in Climate Change, and new blog, Locavore’s Dilemma.  She’s committed to shopping her local farmers market and avoiding plastic.  All that’s great, except she doesn’t know the difference between sauteeing and frying (I’m not sure I know the difference either) and she can’t even boil an egg without messing it up.

So Lori’s asking (begging) for simple recipes using local, organic ingredients (of course, what’s local to her in Bethesda isn’t necessarily what’s local to you, but maybe that doesn’t… Read the rest

September 7, 2010

Giving away a pair of Feelgoodz natural plastic-free flip flops


10/10/2010 Update: The winner of the Feelgoodz natural rubber flip flops is Tread Lightly.  Congratulations!

I need new flip flops. Seriously. I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes since I stopped buying new plastic three years ago, and this summer, I’ve been walking around on worn down foam Teva’s that look like this:

Any podiatrist worth his/her degree would be appalled.

So anyway, I needed new flip flops, and I remembered that Lisa from Condo Blues had worn a pair of natural rubber FeelGoodz flip flops to the Blogher conference last year and loved them. Read her review of Feelgoodz here. So I wrote to the company and asked for a pair to review on Fake Plastic Fish.  

The shoes were sent in a plain cardboard box without any additional packaging.

The flip flops come in all different colors, but I chose black for the sake of versatility. I’m not a big shoe collector, like many women are.

About Feelgoodz Flip Flops:

1) Made … Read the rest

September 3, 2010

Inspired By Madonna


Once upon a time, I was obsessed with Madonna.

Okay, bear with me.  At first glance, this post will seem to have nothing to do with plastic or the environment or anything I normally write about on this blog.  But read on.  Connections will be made.  Oh yes, they will be made.

So anyway, I was obsessed with Madonna.  My close friends will tell you that that is an utter understatement. Back in the 90’s, I discovered eBay and ended up spending an embarrassing amount of money on every Madonna magazine I could get my hands on.  The picture on the left represents only a small fraction of my stash — what was left after I finally sold most of it back on eBay years later.  (Today, the only thing that remains is an unopened Sex book and this photo.)

I also went through a phase of making insane Madonna art. It’s all online, but I doubt you’ll find it. And believe me, you really, really wouldn’t want to anyway.

Here’s the thing: … Read the rest