The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
April 19, 2015

Is There Hope For Cleaning Up The Pacific Garbage Patch?

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This post might be controversial, but sometimes you have to admit when you might have been a little bit… wrong?  Anyway, five years ago, I wrote a pretty depressing blog post about why we cannot solve the problem of ocean plastic pollution by focusing on cleanup schemes.

2010- 2013: My Doubts

My point was that as long as we continue to consume vast amounts of disposable plastic, any effort at cleanup would be, to quote Captain Charles Moore, “like baling water from a bathtub with the spigot still running.” So, in 2012, when I started hearing about a Dutch teenager who had designed an expensive contraption to clean up the gyre within 5 years, I dismissed the story as just one more distraction from the real issue.  Here’s then 18-year old engineering student Boyan Slat at a TEDx event in Delft explaining his idea:

Since he first conceived the idea of a passive collection device into which ocean currents would depositRead the rest

February 27, 2015

Hunting for the perfect bottle drying rack

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It’s not easy to do the dishes when there are a bunch of reusable bottles in the way.  And early in the morning, when I’m more than a little stressed out trying to get out the door on time, confronting this situation was making me nuts.

I know, I know.  How hard is it to just move those bottles?  Terrible problem to have, compared to all the other problems in the world, right?  Still, sometimes fixing small, irritating problems–especially those that slow me down in the morning–helps me be more effective for the rest of the day.

So I went on the hunt for a perfect bottle drying solution that would not take up extra real estate on my small kitchen counter.  (Putting them over wooden spoons or chopsticks  wasn’t really working for me.)  And then, searching Amazon, I discovered the Mommy Genius bottle and bag drying rack,which had a slew of positive reviews.

Since it’s chrome-plated steel, rather than… Read the rest

February 23, 2015

Arrifana Resturant in Portugal is saving 5000-6000 single use plastic cups a year!

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Photo Restaurante Praia Arrifana ©

Michelle Cassar is a long-time reader of this blog and committed anti-plastic activist, although I’m not sure she would actually call herself an activist, nor anti plastic.  She’s also a surfer, photographer, and world traveller who has been living in Portugal for quite a while.  Back in 2011, she sent me a list of the over 10,000 plastic items she had refused since beginning her plastic-free life.  And now, she’s helping others to refuse plastic by working with a local restaurant to eliminate plastic cups.  Here is the story in her own words.  Read, enjoy the beautiful photography, and be inspired!

(Por favor, vá para baixo para a versão Português.)… Read the rest

December 17, 2014

Kamik Recycled and Recyclable Rain Boots

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So, I have kind of a confession.  I waited until we had the biggest rainstorm in years to even think about buying rain boots.  I waited until my work shoes and socks were soaked through, and I was sloshing around the office all day, to ask myself, “I wonder if I can buy Kamik recycled rain boots here in the Bay Area.”  I’d already researched the boots for inclusion in my book.  I just hadn’t bothered to actually try them out.  Until now.

So, last Thursday evening, I found myself in Nordstrom at San Francisco Centre asking if there were any Kamik rain boots and basically getting laughed at for thinking any store in town would still have any rain boots left.  So I did something I’m not proud of.  I ordered them overnight from Amazon.  And they arrived the next day.

Kamiks are great but Amazon sucks

Okay, first let me tell you about the boots, and then let me explain why ordering from Amazon is not the best… Read the rest

December 17, 2014

Kamik Recycled and Recyclable Rain Boots

kamik-boots

So, I have kind of a confession.  I waited until we had the biggest rainstorm in years to even think about buying rain boots.  I waited until my work shoes and socks were soaked through, and I was sloshing around the office all day, to ask myself, “I wonder if I can buy Kamik recycled rain boots here in the Bay Area.”  I’d already researched the boots for inclusion in my book.  I just hadn’t bothered to actually try them out.  Until now.

So, last Thursday evening, I found myself in Nordstrom at San Francisco Centre asking if there were any Kamik rain boots and basically getting laughed at for thinking any store in town would still have any rain boots left.  So I did something I’m not proud of.  I ordered them overnight from Amazon.  And they arrived the next day.

Kamiks are great but Amazon sucks

Okay, first let me tell you about the boots, and then let me explain why ordering from Amazon is not the best… Read the rest

December 14, 2014

GreenCitizen does more than recycle your e-waste

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I first learned about GreenCitizen several years ago when I was trying to figure out what to do with old CDs and DVDs.  Since then, Michael and I have taken several dead gadgets to them: our old rice cooker, our old blender, and some obsolete computer equipment.  So I was excited to take a tour of GreenCitizen’s hub in Burlingame this weekend and have a chat with founder and CEO James Kao.

Kao was born in Taiwan and graduated from UCLA in 1982 with a degree in math and computer science.  He went on to get an MBA and work for companies like HP, IBM, and Oracle as a software engineer.  As a guy with an engineering mindset, he’s all about solving problems.  So, after seeing a short film called “Exporting Harm: The High Tech Trashing of Asia” about e-waste pollution overseas, he set out to create a solution.

GreenCitizen is more than a recycling center for e-waste.  Kao wants to rethink the idea of waste in the first … Read the rest

December 1, 2014

Plastic-Free EcoEtsy Holiday Gift Give-Away

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If you’ve read my book or regularly follow this blog, you know I love me some Etsy.  I love shopping for plastic-free products on Etsy, and I love that I can contact the sellers and ask them not to use any plastic shipping materials.  So, in the tradition of last year, Team EcoEtsy is once again giving away seven different holiday gifts to seven different readers of My Plastic-Free Life.  Please read the full post in order to enter the drawing.

Team EcoEtsy is a global team of eco-minded Etsy sellers, whose mission is dedicated to protecting our planet by utilizing methods to reduce carbon footprints in managing their businesses in the most eco-friendly manner.  Many members offer plastic-free items and ship their packages without plastic, either by default or upon request.

Seven EcoEtsy team members have donated prizes to be shipped without plastic for this holiday giveaway.  Read more about the prizes and shops below… Read the rest

August 18, 2014

Ask eBay to Stop Recommending Plastic Bubble Wrap to Sellers

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Sign the petition to ask eBay to quit recommending plastic bubble wrap.

Cory Trusty of Aquarian Bath (a small business owner and sponsor of this blog who is committed to reducing her plastic footprint) got tired of all the plastic bubble wrap she receives when ordering supplies from eBay sellers.  While she has found her own unique way to request and receive less plastic with her orders (explained below), she realized that getting sellers to reduce their plastic packaging across the board would require help from above, specifically from eBay itself.  Why?  Because through its recommendations and feedback process, eBay has fostered a “Bubble Wrap Culture.”

Cory writes…

The eBay Bubble Wrap Problem

For 2012, eBay revenues were nearly 7.3 billion dollars, and eBay now has 128 million active users. Bubble wrap is the first packaging option that is recommended by eBay to every seller. Other alternative… Read the rest

July 25, 2014

BALM! Baby’s Plastic FREE July Challenge + Giveaway

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It’s the final week of Plastic Free July, and BALM! Baby, a company that packages the majority of its personal care products without plastic, wants to reward everyone who participated by giving away crazy numbers of prizes.  I’ll throw in a copy of my book, Plastic-Free, as well.  Here’s all you have to do:

Challenge Details:

Challenge ends July 31, 2014. Form must be filled out & filled out HERE (it’s short) Switch one thing either within your household or your place of business within the month of July that helps to reduce plastic use. Then post a picture to BALM! Baby’s FB page. (facebook.com/balmbaby) Make sure you ALSO enter the GIVEAWAY via Rafflecopter. Prizes include: $100 Gift Card to be used at their online shop (taylorspureandnatural.com) * Glass Dharma $25 Gift Card * Pura $50 Gift Pack * SmartBottoms AIO Cloth Diaper (One Size ORGANIC) * Irresistibly Green $25 Gift Card * Life Without Plastic… Read the rest
June 24, 2014

Join Me in Berkeley and Around the World For Plastic-Free July

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If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, now’s your chance to join with other like-minded folks IN PERSON to support one another and learn about local resources to reduce plastic use.  And if you’re not in the SF Bay Area, why not start your own local group (either online or in person) to celebrate Plastic-Free July?

While plastic reduction is important year-round, Plastic-Free July is a powerful time when people around the globe come together (in person or virtually) to make an extra effort to go plastic-free for a whole month and to spread the word that we can live without most disposable plastic.  Last year, I interviewed the founder of Plastic-Free July, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz of Earth Carers in Western Australia and participated in an International Plastic-Free Help Desk to give support and advice to those wanting to take the challenge.

This year, I decided it would be great to do something at home… in person.… Read the rest