The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

April 23, 2009

Dear BART EZ Rider Program,

BART’s EZRider program is a great way to take public transit in the San Francisco Bay Area while reducing our plastic waste. Yes, regular BART tickets are made from plastic. Disposable plastic. And they are not recycled. The EZ Rider program replaces hundreds of disposable BART tickets with one refillable card, which is linked to a credit card and reloaded automatically as you use it.

Included with my new card was one piece of plastic I didn’t need. So I’m sending it back to BART with the following note.

April 19, 2009

EZ Rider Administration Center
300 Lakeside Dr, 22nd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Dear BART:

Thanks so much for the new EZ Rider card. I love the EZ Rider system, specifically because it eliminates the waste of disposable plastic BART tickets.

I am returning this plastic carrying case to you because I really don’t need it. I prefer carrying my EZ Rider card in my wallet with the rest of my credit cards.

Perhaps in the future, you might consider giving patrons the option of receiving a case or not. This way, we can save even more plastic.


Beth Terry

It’s a small piece of plastic, to be sure. But why hang on to something if we don’t need it? Have you sent anything back lately?

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12 years ago

Hi Beth,

I barely ride public transit in San Diego because I ride everywhere. But I thought of riding the bus in January so that I can get some reading in (it is hard to read and bicycle). I thought you could use San Diego’s compass card in your reminder letter writing campaign to BART. The Compass card here is made of plastic and reusable and reloadable.

13 years ago

This is wonderful! We have a similar program that was recently instituted in NY called the EasyPay Xpress Metrocard.

13 years ago

Well, I didn’t have to send it back, but when I was given my plastic (but reusable) Oyster card for London transport, I made sure to give them back the plastic carrying case it came in. And I thought of you. ;)

13 years ago

Hi Beth!

Just wanted to let you know I really enjoy reading your blog! All this ‘green stuff’ is just new for me, but I’m really trying and learning to be a litte more green myself. You’re an inspiration!


Vera, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Green Fundraising
13 years ago

Interesting. I hope to goodness the person receiving your letter gave it to someone else.

One day, I forgot my cloth bag on a trip to Target. I was determined to squash all my products into one bag. I took them out of the 4 bags the clerk had them in, explained and why, then handed her the 3 other bags back. She smiled and acknowleged me in a kind way, but then just threw the bags in the trash. I don’t think she really “got” what I was trying to accomplish. She wasn’t being malicious. Anyway, your post took me back to that place.

I wonder if they gave it to another customer?

13 years ago

Very cool they are switching to reusable.

I though you might get a kick out of what I did today… I was inspired by your letter to LaundryTree about plastic packaging!

I’ve been buying bars of a locally made shampoo for about a year now… I love the stuff! It came wrapped in paper, and was made a block away, though I always bought it at the store due to business hours. Today I went to the store, and it was wrapped in PLASTIC. I went right to the manufacturer down the street from me and asked if I could have “naked” shampoo instead, as I had noticed it was package in plastic at the store. The woman behind the counter gladly brought me a few bars, discounted them because of the lack of packaging (!), and then asked if I hasn’t bought it at the store because of the plastic. I said “yes”, of course. Hopefully that will give them something to think about!

And, if she’s willing to give me $1 off each bar because of saved packaging… think about how much MONEY companies AND us could ALL save without packaging!

13 years ago

oh – and the only thing i’ve ‘sent back’ were some ill-fitting clothes, as i have overestimated my weight gainage. FAIL!

I’ll work on it – specifically Amazon.

13 years ago

Translink is a program that is not currently available on BART – but the plan is to have the translink pad thingies on all Muni, BART, CalTrain, etc etc etc.
Here’s the link:

I did notice they didn’t mention BART on the list of “Eventually, all of the following Bay Area transit agencies will also accept TransLink:”, but i agree with jennconspiracy that it was def. alluded to in other literature. It’s a plastic CC, as you can see in the pics.

Beth Terry
13 years ago

What’s Translink? And why did they just send me an EZ Rider card if the program is being discontinued? I’m confused.

13 years ago

Buuuuuuuut…. they are going to replace EZ Rider with Translink … silly that they set up a competing program to begin with…