The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: December 2008

December 30, 2008

Video Tour of My (Nearly) Plastic-Free Kitchen

Here are some snippets from the market research video I referred to in yesterday’s post. A quick, rough, and unscripted tour through some of the green aspects of our kitchen. Future videos, should we choose to make them, will be much more polished. But this one is fun, if only for the appearance of a couple of curious cats halfway through.

You might need to turn your sound volume up to hear it.

Read the rest

December 23, 2008

Hey Klean Kanteen! What’s with the plastic cap?

January 2011 Update: Good news. Klean Kanteen has developed a plastic-free cap! The new Reflect Klean Kanteen water bottle comes with a bamboo/metal cap with a silicone ring. The bamboo caps are also sold separately to fit other styles of Klean Kanteen bottles, but unfortunately, those bottles still come automatically with plastic caps.)

Friday I had the great privilege of hanging out with Ruchi, she of the Arduous Blog, who came to town for the holidays. We ate apple pie with caramel sauce and ice cream. We walked around the Castro. We chatted with the new owner of the Eco Boutique on 18th Street. We should have gone karaoke singing, as according to her current blog post it’s something Ruchi loves to do. Instead, we visited the one and only Rainbow Grocery.

Ruchi needed a new Klean Kanteen. Her old one was rudely stolen, as regular readers of her blog know, shortly before she left London to come home. And Rainbow Grocery sells them, along with bins… Read the rest

December 23, 2008

California Academy of Sciences: A Visit to the Greenest Museum in the World

What’s it like inside the world’s greenest museum? That’s what I wanted to find out. Michael, David, and Nancy just wanted to explore and have a good time. So we all BARTed out to Golden Gate Park on Saturday to visit the new California Academy of Sciences museum.

Michael and I arrived first and checked out the cafeteria, conveniently located right inside the front doors. There was lots of organic food in evidence, as well as compostable foodware. There were also chips and cookies in plastic wrap and Mylar bags. Ah well. Nothing’s ever perfect, is it? Checking out the unattended waste station with its bins labeled Recycle, Compost, and Landfill, we spied all types of waste indiscriminately tossed into all three containers, as well as visitors reading the signs and incorrectly attempting to guess what they meant.

A staff member posted at the waste station to help educate guests might have been in order. Michael and Nancy … Read the rest

December 19, 2008

Voices of the Plastic-Free Blogosphere, Part 3

Here is the next segment in a series of posts on bloggers joining the plastic-free movement. These folks have taken the challenge to reduce plastic in their lives and blog about their efforts. The first two posts can be found here:

Voices of the Plastic-Free Blogosphere, Part 1 Voices of the Plastic-Free Blogosphere, Part 2

Plastic-Free Bloggers (blogs primarily dealing with plastic)

PlasticLess NYC. Juli Borst is a classical singer and founding member of the Take Back The Filter campaign, and now she’s begun an awesome new blog. Since starting PlasticLess NYC in the middle of November, she’s already written 23 posts, tallying her plastic waste and covering a wide range of topics. I’m thinking maybe I can retire soon.

Juli first started following environmental blogs after joining The Compact in late 2006. Giving up buying new things led to giving up buying a lot of plastic, and blogs like EnviroWoman and Fake Plastic Fish, … Read the rest

December 18, 2008

Liquid Soap Fail – What am I doin’ wrong?

This is a 1000 gram block of olive oil soap I bought from Body Time (a shop in my neighborhood) a while back. It was completely unpackaged. I thought I would use it to make liquid soap — to replace the Dr. Bronner’s we have been using for dishwashing once it’s gone. I figured all I’d need to do is dissolve the bar in a pot of water and voila! Liquid soap. Did I check any recipes or instructions? No way, man. It just seemed way too obvious.

So, I put the entire block of soap in a stock pot on the stove, filled it up with water, and started stirring. And stirring. And stirring. Thinking I’d save time, I didn’t bother grating the soap beforehand. So yes, this process took hours. Hours of gas stove energy. Hours of occasional stirring.

After the whole thing was dissolved, I let the pot cool. When I checked it the next day, I found a huge stock pot of solid soap!

Okay, I guess an entire kilogram of soap (2.2 pounds) requires more water.… Read the rest

December 16, 2008

Homemade Chocolate Syrup: Delicious & Plastic-Free

Hershey’s. Nestle. Santa Cruz Organic. Ah!Laska. Dagoba. What do these syrups have in common? (Besides some form of chocolate?) Some are conventional. Some are organic. Fair trade. But all of them are packaged in plastic squeeze bottles. How can products can be labeled organic when they are packaged in plastic? Shouldn’t chemicals from plastic packaging be considered in organic certification?

Well anyway, Michael and I need our chocolate syrup in order to be happy. So I found a very simple recipe and have tweaked it to perfection.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup Recipe

1 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened) (Purchased from bulk bin in my own container.)

2 cups sugar (From bulk bins — I use 1/2 dark brown sugar and 1/2 granulated sugar.)

1/4 teaspoon salt (Bulk bin.)

1 cup cold water (Tap, of course!)

1 tablespoon vanilla (Glass bottle with small plastic cap.)

Combine cocoa and sugar and blend until all lumps of cocoa are gone. Add water … Read the rest

December 10, 2008

Caring for the planet right now.

I hear a lot of discussion about preserving the planet for future generations.  That’s fine, but to be honest, my motivation to care for the planet has almost nothing to do with future generations and everything to do with this moment… this one… right here… now.

Right now, there are Laysan albatross chicks starving to death with bellies full of plastic bottle caps.

Right now, there are sea turtles choking on plastic bags.

Right now, there are fish swallowing PCB-coated “nurdles” and passing those toxins up the food chain to us.

Right now, there are children being poisoned by the BPA leaching from their food containers.

Right now, there are PVC workers breathing carcinogenic fumes and developing rare tumors.

Right now, there are towns in China that have become toxic waste dumps for our plastic “recycling” and e-waste.

These problems began before I was born and have increased significantly… Read the rest

December 3, 2008

Dear family and friends,

Happy holidays! It’s the time of year for snow and ice. Or light-strung palm trees, depending on where you live. Here in Oakland, we haven’t even turned on our central heating yet. My toes are mildly chilly — a condition easily remedied by fuzzy slippers, which I have on right now.

No matter what the weather, we’re probably all seeing a lot of the same sights and sounds: Christmas jingles, holiday lights, billboards blaring gift ideas, and commercials… commercials… commercials…

The mad rush can be overwhelming if we buy into the messages urging us to “Shop! Shop! Shop!” But it can also be exhilarating to view from the sidelines, as a bystander experiencing the thrill of the season without all the anxiety that can come with it.

This year, I’m not getting caught in the Christmas madness, but I’m not going to shun it either. I’d love to remember what it felt like as a kid when,… Read the rest

December 3, 2008

Holiday No Plastic Packaging Challenge

Have you seen Amy Gates’s No Plastic Holiday Challenge at Crunchy Domestic Goddess? It warms my heart when other bloggers get on the no-plastic bandwagon. If you haven’t already, please click the link to take the pledge and read her article. Then come back here (yes, come back!) for ideas about how to de-plastic the packaging for your plastic-free gifts. It doesn’t help to buy a beautiful handmade plastic-free gift from an Etsy seller, only to have them send it to you smothered in bubble wrap or inside a box covered in plastic tape.

Plastic packaging is just the kind of disposable material that is making its way to the North Pacific Gyre. (Isn’t it ironic that a material that lasts forever in the environment is so often made into single-use disposable products?)

So what can we do about it?

1) Give gifts that require no packaging at all: gift certificates for services, meals, theater tickets, other experiences. Gifts of time.… Read the rest