The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

August 31, 2007

Weekend Discussion Question: The Crazy, The Weird, & The Just Plain Useless

I’m getting ready to pack up and leave for Anaheim, CA. By the time you read this, I should already be there. Please send me some nice thoughts on Monday as I am doing my little experiment to see just how much punishment an insufficiently trained body can endure during a half marathon. I’m taking bets. Who thinks I’ll still be able to walk around Disneyland afterwards and who thinks I’ll need to be pushed in a wheelchair?

Who thinks ibuprofen is a good thing even if it comes in a plastic bottle?

I probably won’t blog while I’m down there, but I’ll be taking all kinds of notes on plastics while traveling, plastics in theme parks, plastics in hotels, etc. I’ll post my weekly tally some time on Tuesday after I get back.

So for now, I leave you with the weekend discussion question. Here’s the setup: this week, Michael forwarded me an article from the San Francisco Chronicle, written by a guy so flabbergasted by a certain useless plastic item that he actually contacted the marketing person who dreamed it up and interviewed her. Perhaps by now, you’ve already read about the Neosporin travel tote. Several eco-bloggers have already picked up on it. If not, click to read “The Neosporin travel tote: Tracking down the human behind the crap we have to buy.”

The article got me thinking about all the many useless plastic items that are manufactured each year. At least, plastic bags and bottles serve some purpose. But many plastic items serve no other purpose than to make somebody else richer. So I looked around my house for the most outrageous plastic item I could find, and I came up empty-handed. (Granted, I didn’t climb up into the attic. I’ll bet there’s some worthless crap up there. If it was useful, it would be down here being used.)

I guess I just don’t hang onto junk. Life is too short and the house is too small. But I did think of an item that I saw in the toothpaste aisle of Elephant Pharmacy a while back that just had me rolling my eyes. It’s the Tube Wringer, a chunk of plastic bigger than the toothpaste tube itself that you use to get out the last of the toothpaste. It comes in a plastic bag, of course. And at first, it may seem like a good idea, this contraption. But have these people never heard of the back of a comb? That’s what I used (back before I started brushing with baking soda) to squeeze out the last of the tube. And where in my bathroom would I store such a thing anyway?

Okay, I’ll admit that’s not even close to the craziest or weirdest thing out there by far. But it’s the only thing I can think of at 2:30am while my mind is preoccupied with remembering everything I need to pack. I could have listed my plastic Bill Clinton penis pen instead, but that at least makes me laugh. So the question for this Labor Day weekend is: What is the weirdest, craziest, most useless plastic thing in your house? The thing that makes you go, “Wow. Someone actually got paid to come up with that.” And if you, like me, don’t tend to accumulate that kind of stuff, what is the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen in a store lately?

Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back next week.

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Toddler Play Wild DIll

I only post ads for products I use myself. Your support helps to fund my plastic-free mission.

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15 years ago

Not only is the neosporin in a wasteful tote but the product is packed with unnecessary color, perfume and parabens preservatives.

Parabens can a key trigger for eczema flare-up !

16 years ago

useless plastic item: plastic tampon applicators. they’re AWFUL! i don’t use tampons of any kind though – i do use reusable (and biodegradable) sea sponges – they are so much better in so many ways. :D

16 years ago

I don’t know if it’s useless but I saw an ad for dish soap with an air freshner thing on the bottom. Seemed pretty crazy,weird and just plain useless to me!

Rejin L.
16 years ago

I am annoyed about things that used to be re-usable, or made of more renewable materials, that are now made of plastic. In New York, plastic Metrocards have replaced the reusable metal token. Metrocards are made to be reused, but most people seem to just toss them on the subway steps and buy new ones.
And didn’t gift certificates used to be on paper? I know cards are just small things, but they really add up.

16 years ago

Ugh, just thinking about all the useless plastic junk for sale makes my head hurt. I am sure I have some in my house though; will get back to you.

16 years ago

I found something. At work we have these dry-erase board erasers that are bulky and made of plastic (they fit in one’s hand very nicely though). AND there is a plastic holder with a magnet on it that comes with the eraser so you can suspend the eraser on your dry-erase board. Here’s a link:
What happened to the erasers that were small and not made out of plastic which you could place on the ledge of the dry-erase board? What about a piece of cloth? I understand the sentiment, so I wouldn’t call it crazy. It is a little weird and it is definitely useless.

16 years ago

I took my family to the movies today. I got a drink (we use a reusable plastic cup because the drink is only a buck with their cup), but there were the straws, wrapped in plastic. I wish I would have gone without a straw. Is there something else besides plastic straws? wooden ones?

I’ll get back to you on a useless plastic item. I have too many to count.

Good luck with the half. I’d love to run that one.