The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
December 9, 2016

Homemade Broth and Better Broth Concentrate

Back in April I promised a post about making broth.  Well, here it is.  Actually, this is more like two posts in one.  There’s broth that you make from scratch in order to get all the nutritious goodness out of the food scraps you have left, and then there’s broth (or stock) that you need in a hurry for a recipe when you don’t have time to make broth from scratch and you don’t have any on hand.

(The word broth is starting to sound really funny after saying it in my head a whole bunch of times in one paragraph.  If I capitalize the first letter, it could be the name of a new Game of Thrones character.)

Better Than “Better Than Bouillon” Vegetable Broth Concentrate

Five years ago, I touted the goodness of Better Than Bouillon broth concentrate that comes in a glass jar and eliminates the need for broth in a BPA-lined can or plastic-lined box.  Using a concentrate helps prevent waste… Read the rest

December 7, 2016

An (Almost) Plastic-Free Thanksgiving Holiday Meal

Thanksgiving came and went.  We gathered with friends, gave thanks, ate food, and took lots of pictures.  Well, I took lots of pictures to share with you.  Because the only thing better than preparing and eating beautiful food is looking at pictures of it, right? I mean, just ask your Facebook friends.

Our Thanksgiving meal was not entirely plastic-free and zero waste, but it was as close as we could get and still have a turkey.   And while Thanksgiving won’t be back for another year, Christmas, Hanukkah,  and other winter festivals are right around the corner.  What ideas will you implement to create a waste-free holiday meal?

The Menu

We hosted a Thanksgiving potluck, which meant we didn’t have to make the entire meal ourselves.  That said, we did prepare a hefty share of it:

Roast turkey Gravy Cheesy mashed potatoes Green Bean Casserole Baked yams Appetizers Dessert Fizzy water… Read the rest
November 30, 2016

MOM’s Organic Market Wants You to Bring Your Own Containers

This story starts with a car wreck.  A few weeks ago–the week before the U.S. election, to be exact–I was in Maryland visiting my dad. Riding shotgun on the way home from my brother’s birthday dinner, I caught a glimpse of the sign for MOM’s Organic Market and shrieked, “HEY, THERE IT IS!” Unfortunately, my scream startled dad enough for him to swerve into a curb that had suddenly jutted out into the middle of the road. (Who put that there?)  We ended up with a flat tire and had to wait in the MOM’s parking lot for my brother in law to come help us change the tire.

 

You’re probably wondering why I screamed when we passed MOM’s Organic Market.  Well, growing up in Beltsville, MD in the 80’s, we shopped at conventional grocery stores like Giant and Safeway and A&P.  We didn’t have markets like Whole… Read the rest

October 31, 2016

Californians, Don’t Be Confused by Competing Plastic Bag Bans on Ballot!

11/30/16 Update:  Hurray!  Despite the disappointing national election results, California has some things to cheer about.  We passed Prop 67, the single use plastic bag ban!  Thanks to everyone who voted!

A few weeks ago, I did something completely out of my comfort zone.  I signed up and then showed up to phone bank with Clean Water Action in support of Prop 67, a statewide plastic bag ban on the upcoming November ballot, and against Prop 65, a competing measure that could completely undermine efforts to eliminate plastic bag pollution across the state.  I also dragged my friends Nancy and Corbina along with me since, you know, misery loves company and all that.

What is Prop 67?

In 2014, the California legislature passed SB270 (Padilla), a law which would ban single-use plastic carry out bags and require merchants to charge customers a 10 cent fee to purchase disposable paper bags. Shoppers could avoid… Read the rest

October 31, 2016

If you care about clean air, please VOTE next week!

11/30/16 Update: Well, so we voted. Now what? Trump has vowed to dismantle environmental regulations. We can’t let that happen. More than ever before, it’s time to get active.

I have to admit, the current election cycle has me wanting to hide under my covers with a bottle of wine and a few choice edibles until the madness is over. It’s been weird and ugly, and I’m sure quite a few of us are exhausted and tempted to just stay home on November 8.

PLEASE DON’T DO THAT.

November 8 is not only about electing our next president, which is important in itself, but also electing the representatives and passing the propositions that will impact the state of our air, water, soil, and climate in the years to come.  Clean Air Mom’s Action — the political action partner of Mom’s Clean Air Force — is urging parents to get out and vote for the health of our children and those who are the most vulnerable.

Please… Read the rest

October 31, 2016

Guest Post: Why I love having to take my stuff to the Transfer Station myself

The following is an email I received from reader Susan Siu about how much she loves having to take her recycling to the local transfer center instead of having curbside pickup.  I loved it so much, I asked her if she would send me pictures and let me post her email here.  Don’t get me wrong:  I still want curbside recycling to be made available so that people who wouldn’t otherwise recycle will comply, but I love her enthusiasm for her local transfer station.  So, please enjoy this post about recycling/reusing in Southern Maine.

Dear Beth,

I LOVE your book and blog! I am a small-scale vegetarian organic homesteader in Southern Maine currently in the process of going zero-waste and plastic-free, and your book has been extremely helpful as well as fascinating. I have been watching many of your film/video recommendations with my kids, and they are sharing what they’ve learned with all their friends.

After… Read the rest

September 25, 2016

Art That’s Breaking My Heart Today

Photo credit: John Suchocki, Sunday Republican newspaper

Three years ago, artist Dara Herman Zierlein emailed me out of the blue:

Dear My Plastic Free life, Thank you for all that you do and the amazing resources!  Below is a link to my watercolor paintings dealing with multiple themes around pollution and the consequences of using disposable one time use plastic items, like water bottles etc… I am an art activist, My name is Dara.  I’m excited to share them with you. Its a very hard to fight this battle alone and I spread the word through my art as I practice eliminating plastic use in my daily life.

The first two images were poignant and beautiful, but it was the third that stabbed my heart and took my breath away.

And then, sadly, the email got buried under a bazillion others.

Last night, finally getting my insane email inbox under control, I stumbled across Dara’s images again and had the same… Read the rest

May 28, 2016

Plastic-Free, Zero Waste Childbirth

Last week, I received an email from a new blogger who calls herself Little Urban Greenie.  She’s a mom and “homesteader in the making.”  She’s also expecting a new baby in the next month or so and plans to significantly reduce the amount of disposable products and plastics used in the birthing process this time around.  She asked if she could share her plans here to help others who might be concerned about the amount of waste they generate during the childbirth process, and I thought it was a great idea.

Please check out Greenie’s post and follow her blog to find out how successful she is and to learn more about her crunchy ways.… Read the rest

May 22, 2016

BULK — New Mobile Site from The Zero Waste Home

Bea Johnson from The Zero Waste Home has created a new mobile website for finding shops that offer products without packaging.  No matter where in the world you live, it’s possible there is a shop nearby where you can bring your own bags and containers to buy foods or personal care and cleaning products without the disposable wrapping, usually plastic, that most products come packaged in.  You might have never heard of this shop, but someone else has and has added it to the BULK website for you to find.… Read the rest

April 20, 2016

Buying and Storing Meat without Plastic

 

Meat exists.

There, I said it.  And I have found ways to buy and store it without plastic packaging.  I’ve wanted to share some of these ideas on this blog but have stopped myself out of fear of reprisals from those who feel that if I really cared about the environment, I would not only stop eating it myself but would also not mention its very existence.  But living from fear, or at least that particular fear, ends today.  I’m getting pretty burned out from writing what I think people want me to write rather than what I actually feel excited to share.

For four long years, I ate only a vegetarian diet, and the only meat I bought was for our cats (who are obligate carnivores.)  In fact, I wrote a very reasoned and heartfelt blog post about why I decided to become a vegetarian.  But while my heart and mind loved the idea of being a vegetarian, my body didn’t.

Two … Read the rest