The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: May 2008

May 29, 2008

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Blogger

I had planned to write a post about plastic on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) tonight, but I’m tired. And a little depressed. Because I just got wind of the fact that one of my favorite bloggers, Crunchy Chicken, is going to retire from blogging for a while, take a mental health break because of serious stresses in her life, and part of me went, “Oh. Lucky girl.” Is that f@#$ed up or what?

Don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love Fake Plastic Fish. I love how much I’ve learned since I started blogging here, and I love and appreciate all the support and great ideas I’ve received from FPF readers. But I’m also a perfectionist. So each night before writing my post, I have to psych myself up for the task at hand. I’m not a natural writer who can whip up a frothy bloggy confection lickity split. I usually have to add a few drops of agonizing and whining before the thing is done.

A while back, several technology bloggersRead the rest

May 28, 2008

16-year old discovers plastic-eating microbe: Is this the answer to our plastic problem?

Last week, Daniel Burd, a 16-year old Canadian student, won the top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa for his discovery of microbes that will break down polyethylene bags. This article in The Star explains his procedure and how he was able to isolate the specific microbes that will break down the plastic. So far, his microbes have achieved a 43% degradation of the plastic after 6 weeks. Burd theorizes that in 6 more weeks, the plastic would be completely gone, although he has yet to prove that.

First, I want to congratulate Daniel for his hard work on behalf of the environment and for possibly achieving what so far adult scientists have not been able to. Amazing. Being able to biodegrade plastics without the use of toxic heavy metal additives (as are used in oxo-degradable plastics) could be a useful tool in cleaning up the plastic mess we have already created.

But does this mean that plastic bags are now off the hook and that plastic packaging… Read the rest

May 27, 2008

Junk floating in the ocean

By now, most readers of this blog have read about the swirling plastic soup in the North Pacific Gyre and learned about the harm to marine life as well as the bioaccumulation of toxic chemicals that are attracted to these tiny plastic pieces. This coming Sunday, June 1, a couple of intrepid adventurers will sail their own Junk out into the Pacific carrying a large plastic bottle filled with messages from students and individuals across the nation. The bottle of messages will eventually be delivered to state and federal legislators.

The Junk is actually a raft made with 15,000 plastic bottles. The journey is part of an educational effort called Message in a Bottle, and the adventurers are some of the same members of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF) who made the trip out to the North Pacific Gyre this past winter and brought back samples of the plastic foating out there.

If you enjoyed following the blog of the Alguita on its voyage this winter,… Read the rest

May 22, 2008

When giving literally hurts

A few weeks ago, I decided to give a pint. Of blood, that is. What were you thinking? Guinness? I’m almost embarassed to admit that it was my very first time ever donating blood, and the only reason I even thought of it was because someone from the Red Cross cold called me and said, “We’re scheduling residents of North Oakland for their blood donations, can I put you down for Wednesday at 3pm?” And I was like, “Um… no… how about Monday?”

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before. I guess it’s like how I never really worried about plastic until I saw the picture of the dead albatross a year ago. So maybe I’ll become a blood-donating addict. But probably not. Because, even though my experience was very positive, and I’ll certainly do it again, there are some worrisome things about the way the Red Cross collects and stores blood that are of concern for Fake Plastic Fishies.… Read the rest

May 21, 2008

Check out my fancy new "business" card holder (and cards!)

Isn’t this just the coolest idea ever? I wish I could take credit for this recycled business card holder, but the kudos go to the geniuses at Acorn Studios, where they have full instructions for making your own! (2011 Update: The Acorn Studios link has been removed. Here are instructions on another site:

So I displayed my new Fake Plastic Fish cards in their spiffy recycled plastic holder at the monthly gathering of East Bay Green Drinks tonight, where I was invited to come and present the Take Back The Filter campaign. The cards were designed by Ed Colmar of Green Graphics, a green printing and design firm here in Oakland. He’s probably going to help me clean up this web site too, maybe in time for its one-year anniversary. Right Ed?

For those who don’t know, Green Drinks is a monthly gathering of “people interested in sustainability, including … Read the rest

May 20, 2008

"Take Back The Filter" takes on "Bay to Breakers"!

Well, I put out the call, and Tanya and Christa volunteered to help me, dressed as a BRITA filter, get across San Francisco. They came over Saturday night, along with my friend Mark who pretty much majored in costumes and makeup in college, to work on costumes and signs and eat pizza. (BTW, we ordered pizza from Rustica on College Ave and requested it be delivered without that little plastic thing in the middle that keeps the lid from sticking to the cheese. And you know what? The lid and cheese did just fine without that little plastic thing.)

Here’s a link to the full article on the Take Back The Filter site.

And here’s a link to more photos from the day.

Along the way, dese frat guys with some kine beer machine begged me to be da first water filter to do a “full extension.” Wow. That sure was tempting. But I was on a mission and politely declined their generous offer.

Gotta run. Gotta finish up my work and get home so Mark and I can put the… Read the rest

May 14, 2008

Dare me to dress like a BRITA filter and walk across SF?

This could be me at this Sunday’s SF Bay to Breakers because, you know, I have a Barbie Doll body and a giant BRITA filter cartridge in my living room. It could be me if I can get at least one volunteer to walk the 12K (7.65 miles) with me, hold my water bottle, and pass out flyers to the cheering crowds. I’d love to have a whole team of people walking with us and wearing signs that say “” But it will only take one confirmed volunteer to get me to actually do it.

Why can’t Terrible Person walk with me? Why, because he is running the Bay to Breakers, attempting to break his personal awesome record time of 56 minutes last year. Michael trained. Beth did not. Michael will be finished in under an hour. Beth will be sweating in a cardboard costume for over two, probably. But there’s karaoke at The Mint afterwards. And if that’s not incentive enough, I just don’t know what is!

Don’t… Read the rest

May 13, 2008

Dear (Blue Vinyl DVD Distributor) New Video,

New Video 687 Marshall Avenue Williston, VT 05495

To whom it may concern:

Thank you so much for the Blue Vinyl DVD. I am looking forward to sharing it with my friends and helping them to become aware of the problems created by PVC production, use, and disposal.

As you can see, I am returning these packaging materials to you. I appreciate the effort to protect the DVD during shipment. However, it has been my experience that DVDs travel very well in only a simple case without an extra box or plastic packaging material.

In my efforts to tread lightly on the earth, I am seeking to reduce the amount of waste I produce considerably. I find extra packaging of this kind to be unnecessary and, in this case, kind of ironic considering the subject matter of the DVD. And while I realize that the plastic air cushions in the box are made from LDPE rather than PVC, nevertheless, they are plastic, which is not biodegradable and will last in the environment forever, whether it … Read the rest

May 8, 2008

Let me be your guinea pig, please!

Seriously, if you have created something that you think will help us reduce waste and won’t just add to the mountains of garbage, plastic or otherwise, littering our world, send it my way to try out. But don’t send any plastic packaging or I’m liable to ship it right back to ya. I received two nifty items in the last few weeks, both packaged sans plastic and both very cool.

The first was from Bibi Rogers, who has created a company called 4U2ReUSE. Bibi has sent me several emails explaining how important this project is to her and her vision for a healthier planet. While out on a kayaking trip with her son, they came upon a beach littered with plastic bags, the sight of which profoundly affected her. She wanted to do something to solve the problem. Experience told her that carrying reusable bags was the best choice, but often people forget to bring them. What if they had a cute carrier to store their old plastic bags in so they could reuse them… Read the rest

May 7, 2008

Dear Santa Sabina,

The following is a letter that I am sending off tonight to the Santa Sabina Retreat Center, where I spent this past weekend, and about 12 previous weekends since 2000, sitting in silence. I share this letter here only to demonstrate that we can have a voice, write our letters and make our calls, and do it all in a spirit of sharing and love rather than confrontation or hostility. I love Santa Sabina. I truly do. Here’s the letter:

Dear Santa Sabina Center:

As a participant in Jon Bernie’s meditation retreat this past weekend, I write this letter in a spirit of gratitude for the beautiful space that you provide for rest and silence. This note is meant to thank you and also to offer some suggestions.

I’ve been attending Jon Bernie’s retreats at Santa Sabina ever since the very first one in 2000. Every time I come back, I feel like I’m returning to a loving home. From the care taken for the lovely gardens to the wholesome meals to … Read the rest