The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: July 2008

July 30, 2008

Take Back The Climate

I’ve been asked to present the Take Back The Filter campaign (urging Clorox to take back and reuse/recycle used Brita water filter cartridges) as part of a panel at the California Resource Recovery Association’s (CRRA) annual conference next week. I am excited to have the opportunity to share the campaign with this audience, and when initially asked, wasn’t at all nervous about speaking: I’ve been talking about not much else for the past 3 months!

Not nervous, that is, until I found out that the theme of the conference is CARBONOPOLY: Climate Change Is Not A Game We Can Lose.

Oh dear. I know about zero waste. I know about the problems of plastic. I know why I don’t want Brita filter cartridges to continue to be landfilled or incinerated. But I hadn’t related the issue to climate change. In fact, I actually knew very little about global warming except that we’re all supposed to use less energy, buy fewer things… Read the rest

July 30, 2008

Calling Californians – Please take a minute to support plastic bag legislation!

Hi all. Last week, I got an email from Californians Against Waste urging me to send a letter in support of AB 2058, the California bill to protect the environment from plastic bag pollution. I wrote and faxed my letter last week and didn’t even think of forwarding the request here. Duh! Here’s a copy of the letter I sent, which is partially copied from the sample that CAW sent me.

This afternoon, I received an email from my friend Benn at Chicobags urging bloggers to spread the word. So this is me doing just that! Here’s the letter from Benn. Please follow the links to either send your own letter or use the form on the Heal The Bay web site provided. It will only take a few minutes. This is important legislation and necessary, since the plastic bag industry has taken legal action against towns like Oakland and Fairfax that have tried to pass their own bag bans.

Action Alert: Please consider sharing this important plastic bag news with others… Read the rest

July 25, 2008

Blue Sky Cleaners – Non-toxic and Plastic-free?

Nowadays, I stick to buying clothes that can be washed at home rather than dry cleaned. Dry cleaning is expensive and environmentally harmful. But I do still have several items of clothing, as well as some wool blankets, that cannot be machine laundered at home, and for those I need a good outside cleaner.

In the past, I have taken clothes to the dry cleaner down the street, not thinking about much more than the fact that I didn’t want any plastic bag covering my clothes. The cleaner would comply with my request, and I’d do an extra bit by returning my used hangers to them. This takes care of the waste problem, but not the more serious problem of the toxic chemicals used in the cleaning process itself.

Thanks to Big Green Purse, I’ve learned a lot about dry cleaning recently. Which is great because I was almost taken in by the “green cleaner” down the street. Rockridge Royal Cleaners on College Ave has posters in its windows … Read the rest

July 24, 2008

Blue Chair Fruit Company – Plastic-free at the farmer’s market

Our Temescal farmer’s market was beautiful this Sunday, all the colors and crowds alive with the joy of summer. So many fruits to sample and enjoy on the spot. And, sadly, still so much plastic in evidence… bags & containers. Last year I wrote about plastic at the farmer’s market and the effort to educate vendors and patrons about alternatives. This Sunday, one vendor left me pleasantly surprised.

Blue Chair Fruit Company produces extraordinary jams and preserves that are packaged in glass jars with metal lids. That’s fine enough. But what caused me to stop at their table were the tiny metal tasting spoons they were using to give samples. While other vendors of prepared foods (including the women hawking her pesto spreads in the next booth) used disposable plastic spoons or even (to a lesser degree) disposable compostable spoons, Blue Chair used durable spoons that would be washed and reused.

I chatted with Rachel… Read the rest

July 22, 2008

I went to the woods…

…because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Henry David Thoreau, Walden.

I spread a sheet on the ground and set up my chair in a eucalyptus grove overlooking Lake Chabot. I sat in that chair from 12:30pm yesterday to 11:00am today, not quite 24 hours. It was cold and foggy most of the day, and very cold last night. Thank goodness for my mummy bag with hood, which kept me warm enough.

I drank water and listened to the rumblings of my empty tummy. Thoughts were thought and visions beheld, although not of the fantastical burning bush sort. The sound of eucalyptus bark peeling from trees was like a chorus of creeky doors opening and closing, inviting me over and over again to wake up. And the leaves fluttered all night like little birds over my head. After dark, a skunk and I were mutually alarmed by the presence of the… Read the rest

July 20, 2008

Schwag & Twitter at Blogher ’08

The Blogher Conference was kinda overwhelming. I feel like I’ve returned from another planet and need to be quarantined and debriefed. It was refreshing to go out to dinner last night with Michael and his sister and cousin and find out that they had never heard of Twitter. Have you? Because I had heard of it, and even signed up for it months ago, and then never “tweeted” because I didn’t understand why I should. But OMG, everyone at Blogher08 was tweeting up a storm. So, never one to resist peer pressure, I started tweeting too. Wanna follow me?

It was fun to hang out with some real live green gals whom I’d only so far met through cyberspace. From left to right: Jenn from The Smart Mama, me, Michelle from Green Bean Dreams and Jenn from Tiny Choices. Mamabird from Surely You Nest preferred to take the picture rather than be in it.

We also met Green L.A. Girl Siel, Have Fun * Do Good’s Britt Bravo, and Big Green Purse’sRead the rest

July 17, 2008

Gratitude for Diane’s Big Green Purse

These days, when I read environmental books or articles, I usually have on my heavy duty critical thinking cap. Sometimes, I get so involved in picking apart the nitty gritty details of a book that I can’t see the forest for the trees. Yes, that’s a huge cliche, but it’s apt. And I also forget the person behind the book, the author who put their time and energy and maybe even love into bringing the book into the world.

Back in May, I wrote a review of Sierra Club’s Hey Mr. Green, at the end of which I mentioned Diane MacEachern’s Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World and took issue with the vagueness of the book’s recycled content statement. Well, a few days later, Diane herself left a comment here which made me rethink the way I read, review, and critique books. Here is her comment:

Thanks for the feedback on the recycled paper labeling for BGP. Actually, I had heard from the publisher… Read the rest

July 16, 2008

My happy penguin soda maker!

Back in October, I wrote about the Penguin soda maker from SodaStream. It seemed like a great way to have soda without all the plastic bottle waste. I won’t go into the full details again. Please read my original Penguin post here. At the time, there were two drawbacks to the machine: the price (over $200) and the disposable plastic flavor sample packs that came with it. So I put it out of my mind until a few weeks ago, when temperatures in Oakland hit the 90’s and all of us without air conditioning were melting. “Wow,” I thought. “I sure could use a cold one.” In fact, I went out and bought a bottle (glass) of Italian soda at Whole Foods, something I rarely do because I just don’t want to contribute to the environmental impacts of shipping water.

So I was thrilled and surprised a few days later to receive an email from Kristin Harp of SodaStream offering to send me one. She had read my blog post about the Penguin and… Read the rest

July 15, 2008

Fudge and Styrofoam, a confusing combination

So, you guys know how much I love Fudge is My Life fudge sauce from San Francisco, right? I’ve gushed over it here and here and here. But I buy it only occasionally, one jar at a time, from the grocery store. (It’s pretty pricey.) So it was a huge surprise a few days ago when I opened my front door to find a big cardboard box from the Fudge is My Life company sitting on my porch.

I was pretty sure I hadn’t ordered it in my sleep. But I had my suspicions about who did send it, considering the mountain of Divine chocolate I had sent him and mom for Father’s Day. And I was right. The card inside read, “Happy Bday, Beth. Now both of our sweet tooths are happy! Ray.” Ray is my dad, and he had waited all this time to send a birthday gift (my birthday is in January) because I kept saying I didn’t need anything… especially not anything new. But really, who doesn’t need a case of fudge sauce?

In addition to the note, the case… Read the rest

July 9, 2008

Help! I’m on the Low Carbon Diet and I need some advice.

So a few weeks ago, I started to write about how I and a couple of guys from Green Sangha had begun the Low Carbon Diet challenge (as if we all need one more freakin’ challenge right now!) but I was tired and feeling fluey and never finished the post.

Well, I’m back on it. But I’m stuck. The guys and I pretty much flew through Section 1, patting ourselves on the back for having done almost everything on the list already:

1) Reducing garbage — I have next to none. 2) Turning down hot water heater and using less hot water. Check. 3) Reducing dishwashing water. Check. 4) Washing and drying clothes efficiently. This needs work. We do wash everything in cold water. And we can’t afford to buy new appliances right now. But I have been remiss about looking into drying racks or clotheslines. Mainly cuz I just don’t want to. (Don’t be mad, Burbanmom.) 5) Turning down the thermostat, and getting a programmable one. Check. 6)… Read the rest