The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: November 2010

November 29, 2010

Good-Bye Toshiba Laptop. Hello Secondhand Sony Vaio.

sony-vaio-laptop

Dear Toshiba Satellite S105 Laptop Computer:

I’m sorry I never gave you a better name in the 9 years that we were together. I was so sad last week when I traded you in at CeX in Berkeley for a bigger, faster, more powerful computer. For a second, I thought I might jump across the counter and grab you back from that sales dude who was checking all your buttons and parts to make sure you worked okay. I don’t think anyone else has had their hands on you except for Michael maybe and that computer doctor I brought you to a few times when you crashed. See? I loved you. I didn’t toss you away like most people would after two years.

With you, I learned to blog and create web sites and little Flash videos. Remember that stupid animation we made back in 2003 where we knocked off the Governator’s head with a baseball bat? Good times. And better — you were there when Michael and I got married. You helped me make the DVDs we inflicted on our friends and… Read the rest

November 23, 2010

Green Gifts Don’t Have to Suck

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I’m starting to feel anxious already. The start of the holiday shopping season is upon us, with the stampedes of Black Friday coming up in just a few days, followed by the Internet shopping frenzy of Cyber Monday. I tend to put on my Grinch Face and hide at home during the holiday shopping season. I’ve never enjoyed the crowds and anxiety and Christmas jingles that get stuck in your head through the rest of the winter. And with the growing awareness of how our shopping habits impact the planet, I’ve noticed myself becoming just a little smug about my choice to opt out.

And that’s not fair.

Because there are ways to opt out of the madness and still enjoy the season. And gift giving can be a beautiful thing when you remove all the ulterior motives behind gift choices and concentrate on the happiness of all involved. With that in mind, here are my top ten guidelines for happily green gift giving.

1) Surprise is overrated. As a kid, I used… Read the rest

November 17, 2010

Plastic State of Mind Parody Video is extra fun today

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Yesterday, L.A. County voted to ban single-use plastic bags. And this morning, Green Sangha — an organization I’ve been part of since 2007 — released an awesome new video by filmmaker Ben Zolno of New Message Media. Watch, enjoy, and please pass it on to your friends. The message is serious.  The medium is total, addictive fun.

(Click here to watch the full size video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koETnR0NgLY)  For those who can’t hear or who can’t understand the lyrics, the whole thing is conveniently titled, and the lyrics are also printed out on the Youtube page.… Read the rest

November 15, 2010

The Truth About “America Recycles Day”

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Today is America Recycles Day, brought to you by The American Chemistry Council, Pepsico, Nestle, and other mega corporations hoping that YOU will take responsibility for the plastic waste THEY produce so they won’t have to.

“America Manages To Toss Disposable Packaging Into The Recycling Bin When It’s Convenient” Day

When most people tell you they recycle, what they mean is that they put their bottles, containers, paper, cans, etc. into the recycle bin instead of the trash bin.  Then, they can forget about it.  That’s not recycling.  That’s sorting.  Recycling is what hopefully happens after the materials are hauled away and  sold to the companies that convert the “waste” materials into new products.  How much of what we put into our recycle bins is actually recycled?  It all depends on the market.

In the case of plastic, most of the material is downcycled… Read the rest

November 12, 2010

Show Your Plastic. Make a Quilt.

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The International Plastic Quilt Project encourages people to live plastic-free and to make art from the plastic waste that they do end up with.

I met up with Oakland resident Amy Chovnick last month to be a part of the following video, explaining the idea behind the project and how you can get involved. It’s simple!

Video Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDcfqKuOv6k

I got a chance to see part of the quilt a few weeks ago at the Mini Maker Faire in Oakland. What I loved about it was the variety of designs, from simple to complex. See for yourself. (Click images to see larger.)

And here are some fake plastic fish…

Read the rest

November 9, 2010

The Story of Electronics: Planned Obsolescence Sucks

story-of-electronics

One of the strategies I use to acquire less new plastic is to fix stuff that breaks instead of replacing it with new gadgets and to use resources like Craigslist, Freecycle, and thrift stores to get it secondhand. So I get really irritated when despite my best efforts, I find that my broken gadgets are not designed to be repaired. I’ve ranted about the HP Monitor and the digital scale that I tried to have fixed. I bragged about working with my dad to fix my old hair dryer, but lamented the fact that it wasn’t made to be repaired and that only the fact that my dad is an electronics technician allowed us to open it up and replace the broken part.

Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff Project in conjunction with the Electronics TakeBack Coalition and Center for Environmental Health have just released a new video today: The Story of Electronics. And it explains in 7 minutes the entire toxic life-cycle of gadgets designed for the dump and what we as consumers… Read the rest

November 8, 2010

Plastic is a Social Justice Issue (Van Jones at TEDxGP2)

VanJones

I’m back from the TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch conference and feeling refreshed.  I’ve got many things to report about plastic toxicity, plastic and animals, plastics legislation, and even a new product that you’ll be excited about.  The videos will be posted on the web in a few days, and I’ll let you know when they’re up so you can experience the event for yourself.

But for right now, I just want to share my notes from what I felt was one of the most important talks of the day: Van Jones on Environmental Justice. (Van Jones is the author of The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems. If you haven’t read it yet, you should.)

How many of us check the number on the bottom of a plastic container to see if it’s one of the “bad plastics” to avoid?  How many are still willing to use #2, #4, or #5 plastics (the “safe” ones)?  Well, besides… Read the rest