The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

April 22, 2009


Last Wednesday, at Oakland’s Earth Expo, I asked attendees to fill out green pledge cards vowing to give up some plastic from their lives. Those who pledged were entered in a random drawing for a gift basket, containing all kinds of less-plastic goodies: ChicoBag, reusable water bottle, & bamboo cutlery donated by Whole Foods Oakland; cloth produce bag donated by Green Sangha; LunchBots containers; GlassDharma straw; LaundryTree soapnuts; Ecology Center membership, all donated by those respective companies.

And the winner is: MagdaLena Koper!

Many people took the pledge on Wednesday, and I thought it would be nice to share their responses here. Would you like to take the pledge too? Please leave a comment below. I’ll come up with a small surprise gift for one lucky online winner.

To do my part to spare our oceans from plastic pollution and take responsibility for plastic waste, I pledge to replace the following plastic items(s) with a healthy reusable alternative. (Please indicate what plastic item(s) you will give up and what you’ll replace it/them with, if applicable.)

Maura: Bring shopping totes. Reuse produce bags.

Chris: Forego plastic drinking bottles. Keep informing people through Baba’s Green Tips. Use plastic detritus in shrine art.

Kelly: Give up detergent in plastic bottles.

Sadie: Replace laundry soap with natural products.

Calvin: Get rid of Tupperware; use glass containers for storage.

Lesley: Give up plastic baggies.

Kenyatta: I will give up plastic silverware and plates.

Joyce: Be conscious of packaging. Buy based on packaging. No more bottled water. No more plastic bags.

Giselle: I already got rid of all plastic containers, bottles, and plastic junk. I pledge to try the LaundryTree!

Anastasia: I will bring reusable containers to restaurants for leftovers.

Drew: Use canvas bags for groceries. Reusable water bottle.

Diamond: To use less water bottles, I will refill them more.

Lucia: I pledge to give up plastic and get educated.

Sharon: Use cotton bags.

Kathy: Give up plastic bags.

Leslie: Give up plastic to-go cups. Promise to always have my mug!

Elizabeth: Give up plastic container for lunch plates.

Erin: Give up plastic bags and plastic bottles.

Arman: I pledge to use canvas bags when I shop at grocery stores.

Amy & Zadie: We pledge to bring our own water bottle everywhere!

Kimlan: Continue to use cloth bags and own cutlery & chopsticks as well as Eco Canteen for water.

Ahmir: My lunch bags.

Mary: Give up plastic bags.

Jason: I will use a refillable water container.

Liza: Purchase low waste items and use reusable bags.

Kathryn: Give up plastic grocery bags and six pack rings.

Camoni: Give up plastic bags.

Margaret: Carry reusable bags all the time. No plastic bags EVER.

Tiffany: I pledge to not use plastic bags.

Maryann: Give up plastic juice bottles!

Jane: Cloth grocery bags. Buy in bulk. No individual containers. Brita instead of bottled H2O.

Joyce: Give up plastic water bottles.

Simmie: I do recycle bags and plastic water bottles.

Tom: Give up trinket boxes and water bottles.

Magda: Use corn starch utensils and sugar cane bio plates and containers.

What ideas do you have? Please take the pledge and leave your answer in the comments.

Read more Earth Day posts from the Green Moms Carnival, hosted today at A Passion For Green Business.

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13 years ago

great posting and comments. I've been in stores in the mall and have said"I don't need a bag" and the salesperson has responded:"you have to have a bag. we have to give you one." ugh. whatever. I simply respond that I really do not want or need the bag…especially when you are buying one item.

what's tough to see is just how many people out there are simply blind to the plastic implications. keep up this work…you are changing things.

13 years ago

I pledge to bring my cutlery to work and use them instead of the plastic utensils available there. I also pledge to use cloth napkins (even though it’s not a plastic item – I’m going to reduce my impact!)

13 years ago

i have begun to use solid metal bottles like SIGG…the anniversary and vintage models also have metal lids!

i do not use store bags…i always use my rolling backback if i need heavy stuff…or an upright luggage bag to transport gallon sized plants or bottles!

i found a 2-tier metal lunch container at New Seasons that i can carry separate foods to school or work in.

i can either carry chopticks, or my own utensils, and nobody comments on that one.

if you have old “peanuts”…do like we did here at Clark College…use them in worm farms.

i stopped using straws.

and i pledge to continue to look for ways to do more at home and on campus to reduce plastic usage…

we are still fighting to get our campus to switch to TaterWare for “disposable” utensils….
this friday, as Representative for Club 4 Social Action, I will be talking with our college newspaper, the Independent, on this very topic!

may we become OUGHT-WASTEFUL!

13 years ago

I pledge to take my own containers to restaurants to bring home leftovers. I pledge to stop going to the Pho place that uses styrofoam to package everything even though Seattle has banned styrofoam. (What’s that all about?) I pledge to go out to the car to get the reusable bags I forgot to bring in the supermarket. I pledge to try to stop buying individual serving sized snacks for my kids. (That one will be hard!)

13 years ago

I have been following you for awhile now and I am simply amazed at the scope of your dedication to this incredible cause!! I have been a psychotic plastic reuser for years and have tried to lower my plastic quotient in general, but thanks to your blog I’m learning to seek products packaged without plasic. I’m determined to make enough cotton bags to do my monthly grocery shopping (I live waaay out in BFE) and to take my own containers when purchasing bilk foods!

An Carol
13 years ago

i pledge to true for GREEN ANYTIME : )

13 years ago

I pledge to bring my own take out containers (I have plenty of pyrex) to restaurants for leftovers, and to keep either reusing the few plastic produce bags I already have, or not use bags at all for my produce.

13 years ago

we have worked hard on not using plastic bags to bring home groceries, but this year I am determined to find an alternative to the plastic produce bags. My husband doesn’t like the mesh ones I tried. Our biggest problem is wilty lettuce. Maybe I can bring a container that he likes. Oh it is a tough one, but I pledge to find an alternative

Truffula Mama
13 years ago

@ Beth – so, they are more actually more wraps than pouches. Here’s the full story.

Anarres Natural Health
13 years ago

I pledge to keep pushing my edge!
Now that I’ve bought stainless steel food containers and have started to retail these (, I plan to have the nerve to send them out into the world with me when I actually leave the house and need to take food. I say nerve because my daughter manages to lose every reusable item I give her. So now I’ll be donating cool-ass stainless steel containers to the world. And one day when I can afford take out, I’m gonna have a wonderful Indian meal from my stainless steel.

Hmm I wonder about silicone straws?

Love to Beth for always inspiring more!

13 years ago

I pledge to go “no poo” and reduce my shampoo bottle dependance once I run out.

Beth Terry
13 years ago

Truffula Mama — I’d love to see your homemade pouches. Do you have pictures?

Truffula Mama
13 years ago

I love the To-Go Ware sets, but why buy new when we have perfectly good cutlery at home already? ;-) So, I whipped up some pouches of my own last week. One DS was so enthusiastic that he packed all sorts of goodies only a 5 yo could think of into his! Bring on those summer picnics – we’re ready with our knives, forks, and spoons!

13 years ago

I pledge to start making my own all-purpose cleaners so that I don’t have to buy plastic containers for them.

13 years ago

I’ve already changed many of my habits since starting to read your blog (my favorite has been to make my own deodorant, which happens to work better than any commercial brand I ever bought). Now I pledge to avoid plastic bottle packaging, both for kitchen and bath items. Thanks!!

13 years ago

A comment regarding cornstarch utensils and bioplates: Though they may be better than plastic these products are not better then silverware and plates you already own. We have a big party every summer and use silverware and as many “real” plates as we can. If we run out I supplement the plates with 100% recycled paper plates which go into the compost and decompose in a short time.

Don’t replace one bad product with another. Just because something is compostable or biodegradable doesn’t mean it’s great! There’s a cost both environmetal and monetary to all these new products and this should be figured in. I’ve also heard that the cornstarch utensils have to be professionally composted due to the high heat requirement and will not break down in a landfill.

Thanks for listening!

13 years ago

Binder wrote: “RecycleBill –
Thanks for the link to “these people.” I actually think its pretty cool that industry is hosting a blog summit where dissenting views can be expressed. Its at least a start.”

I don’t think it’s going quite the way the ACC planned but I caught them in my net by cross posting everything I post there to my own blog in my series Return to Gilligan’s Island where I will also be posting the things I can’t post to the ACC summit.

Beth Terry
13 years ago

Hi Nicole. I got those glass containers from the Container Store. They are from Anchor. Here is a link to them on the web site, but I bought mine directly from the store in downtown San Francisco:

Mrs. Pivec
13 years ago


I’d really like to switch my plastic storage containers to glass. Where did you purchase yours with the glass lids?

I would love for you to respond here or at Facebook (Nicole Pivec); I am in your friends.

Thanks so much!
LOVED your video letter to Oprah!

Green & Clean Mom
13 years ago

I pledge to stop using baggies. I’m doing really well with this but I still use them sometimes and I want to never buy them again!

13 years ago

RecycleBill –
Thanks for the link to “these people.” I actually think its pretty cool that industry is hosting a blog summit where dissenting views can be expressed. Its at least a start.

13 years ago

I pledge to speak up when the grocery bagger reaches for plastic after filling my re-usable bags. Usually I just let them do whatever so I can get out of there faster, and then I come home with at least two plastic bags I didn’t want.

I also pledge to try Soapnuts. Those just sound too good to be true, but sound fantastic!

13 years ago

I pledge to buy real flatware at Goodwill to keep at my desk at work, so I don’t have to keep getting plastic cutlery from the cafeteria.

The Raven
13 years ago

Do better about buying at the Co-op from the bulk bins–to avoid more packaging.

13 years ago

This is fantastic. You’re such an inspiration. Now I need to figure out what I can pledge to give up. Thinking about that now.

Going Green Mama
13 years ago

I pledge to be the office person who actually takes home and washes the glasses, instead of letting them sit funky in our sink. Why? Because when we avoid using the real glasses when they are dirty, we go for the plastic ones in the water cooler, or worse, the “do not take” water bottles for meetings!

13 years ago

I’ve made so many changes already since I found your blog – I made a list and it’s huge!

I now pledge to hand wash my dry-clean only clothing, stop buying synthetic material clothing, make my own toothpaste, and remember my own mug/glass straw more often.

Thanks for all you do, Beth!

John Costigane
13 years ago

Hi Beth,

Fantastic effort by so many people to lose the plastic waste habit. Maybe you should tell those on the ACC blog summit how to deal with the “recycling problem”.

13 years ago

You know, Beth, if you keep this up, these people won’t like you very much.


Anna (Green Talk)
13 years ago

I pledge to take my own reusable salad container to the supermarket. I think I have enough plastic terrariums to grow my seedlings now…

It is getting harder and harder to be plasticly creative instead of throwing it away.

13 years ago

I pledge to bring my own containers for takeout and to replace my plastic tupperware with glass or metal options as my budget permits.

Mindful Momma
13 years ago

Great work at the Expo Beth!!

I pledge to bring a reusable container to a restaurant for leftovers…at least once! I can come up with all sorts of excuses for not doing it – including not wanting to look like a dork. But I have a feeling that if I just do it once…I’ll keep doing it…and that would be a good thing!

13 years ago

Lunch time FAIL. Instead of my usual sandwich @ Lee’s deli [which after refusing the bag only nets me a small piece of paper as trash], I decided to try someplace different – La Salsa. Well, in addition to not being a great value, I ended up with a plastic bag and plastic container of salsa – on Earth Day no less. I’ll reuse these items as best I can, but… I resolve to be more vigilant when I have to buy lunch and bring my own more.

13 years ago launched their website today (Earth Day)…and they're offering free eco-friendly business cards for a limited time:

13 years ago

Banishing water bottles was easy. Refilling shampoo and conditioner, and soap bottles is old hat, as is bringing my own produce and shopping bags. I carry my own spork and straw (thanks, Beth for the straw idea. I went with metal)and usually a container for leftovers (or wads of reused foil).

I pledge to take the next step and stop buying single to four serving drinks in plastic (including septic boxes), I will no longer buy frozen meals in plastic, opting for my own frozen food in my own containers.
I pledge to use up the plastic I have and get it into the downcycling/recycling stream.

I pledge to brain wash my almost-adult son into these moves, as well.

Emily M
13 years ago

To Lynn,
FYI – one of my friends has a set of Stainless steel straw/spoons. She uses them religiously with her travel mug – iced coffee.


Emily M
13 years ago

I really love the idea of taking my own reusable container to restaurants to keep the leftovers. I will do that.

I also pledge to reuse containers to stock up on items from the bulk bins. In connection to this pledge, I will be buying more basics and less prepared items (less packaging!!)

Lynn from
13 years ago

Wonderful post, Beth.

I pledge to get sets of to-go ware to keep on hand so that when my family eats out, we don’t have to use plastic cutlery. I’m also going to give them as gifts this year for Christmas! (Sshh!)

I also want to get my boys using glass straws instead of plastic..just hope they don’t break easily! :)

Thanks so much for all you do, Beth – you’re an inspiration. And thanks for this contribution to the Green Moms Carnival!

13 years ago

To do my part to spare our oceans from plastic pollution and take responsibility for plastic waste, I pledge to replace the following plastic items(s) with a healthy reusable alternative.I pledge to try LaundryTree Soap Nuts again. And always carry around muggsly. And To always carry my lunch in mt lunch box and use my lunch bots and tiffin instead of baggies.

13 years ago

I pledge to try to find products that come in non-plastic packaging (why does recycled toilet paper come in plastic?). I will keep reusable cutlery, cloth napkins and to-go containers in my car for times we eat out. I will write letters to companies that use vinyl packaging.

13 years ago

To do my part to spare our oceans from plastic pollution and take responsibility for plastic waste, I pledge to replace the following plastic items with a healthy reusable alternative. Plastic water bottles, and, as much as possible, plastic silverware

13 years ago

I pledge to stop buying new plastic soap containers. This includes laundry, dish and hand soap. I have already started researching the alternatives.

I can’t wait!

13 years ago

I pledge to start taking my own containers for “doggie bags” in restaurants to avoid plastic and styrofoam. I pledge to bring my own cutlery and napkin to avoid disposables, and to bring my Klean Kanteen everywhere!

13 years ago

I pledge to start using re-usable cotton pads instead of the plastic-laden Always that I have always just picked up by impulse from the store. I need to treat the environment, and my body, better!!