The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: May 2009

May 29, 2009

Let Them Eat Plastic: SMART Art – Trash Into Treasure

If Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake,” back in the 18th Century, I wonder what she’d say now confronted with sea birds and turtles starving on our plastic waste. Such were the kinds of thoughts I had last night viewing the new exhibit, SMART Art — Trash Into Treasure, at the Lincart Gallery in San Francisco. A project of David de Rothschild’s Adventure Ecology Sculpt the Future Foundation, the SMART Art competition invited artists to show the world how discarded objects could be reused and reimagined into works of art. Tim Dey’s “Ghost of Versailles” was one of those entries. Made from used plastic packing supplies, bubble wrap, drop cloths, aquarium tubing, and soda bottle bottoms, his costume put my Bay to Breakers Sea Monster to shame.

But personally, I was rooting for the work of plastics activist surfer and new friend Kathleen Egan’s “Plastic Wave.” Made from… Read the rest

May 21, 2009

Bulk Bins: If you had them, would you use them?

When I talk about buying in bulk, I’m not talking about huge containers of dried oregano from Costco or massive bags of chips. I am talking about this…

Rows of bins containing pasta, beans, grains, flour, sugar, chips, dried fruit, cereal, and sometimes tofu, peanut butter, olive oil, and personal care products like shampoo or soap, from which you can fill up your own reusable bags and containers, eliminating packaging waste. Last Week, Chicago blogger Jeanne from Life Less Plastic wrote about being envious of San Francisco Bay Area stores that provide so many of these bulk options.

But even here in the Bay Area, we could use more bulk options. Just this week, I wrote to a co-president at Whole Foods asking that they expand their bulk section to match some of the other bulk food stores in the region. (I asked, of course, for my own selfish reasons. Whole Foods is closer to me than Berkeley Bowl, the king of bulk in the East Bay.)

And then I got … Read the rest

May 20, 2009

My Kids — The Joy and the Plastic: A Guest Post from Amber Strocel

The following is a guest post by blogger Amber Strocel who contends with child-related plastic. She’s found quite a few plastic-free alternatives and would like to hear your suggestions for ways to further reduce.

I’m Amber, and I’m a married mom living in Metro Vancouver, Canada. I am a big fan of Fake Plastic Fish, so I am very excited to write a guest post! You can normally find me on my own blog at where I write a lot about my life in the suburbs with my two beautiful children. My daughter Hannah is four years old, and baby Jacob is 9 months. They are the light of my life, the source of great joy, the apple of my eye. All that good stuff. They also use a lot of plastic. Potty chairs, car seats, baby bathtubs, dishes, toys, the list is more than a little overwhelming.

I’ve always been environmentally conscious, or at least moderately so. I didn’t have many concerns with plastic in particular, though, until April … Read the rest

May 19, 2009

Leatherback Sea Turtle friends Plastic Sea Monster at Bay to Breakers 2009 and both win!

No plastic tally this week. Didn’t have time or energy to do it Sunday after WINNING THE COSTUME CONTEST AT THE 2009 BAY TO BREAKERS!

(I’ll add last week’s plastic to my next tally.)

Eli Saddler of and I participated as a leatherback sea turtle and the plastic that kills it in an effort to bring awareness to the problems of plastic in the ocean and encourage Bay to Breakers attendees to bring their own bottles… next time. Mostly, we just had fun. Well, I did. Eli was sweating buckets in his sea turtle costume made of polar fleece from recycled plastic bottles. Who knew the weather in San Francisco would suddenly be so warm?

Click the above image to see our costumes up close. Here’s a short video of the day. We had a blast, and winning in the “Green” division of the costume contest is worth the sunburn I’ve got now. (And yes, I had my sunscreen with me, and no I didn’t remember to apply … Read the rest

May 16, 2009

Coming to Bay to Breakers tomorrow? Bring your own (H2O) Bottle!

For Immediate Release

Costumed Crusaders Ask Bay to Breakers Runners to BYOB – Bring Your Own Bottle for Water, That Is.

Anti-plastic environmentalists to promote reducing and recycling plastic during B2B 2009

Contact: Beth Terry, Fake Plastic Fish, beth[at]fakeplasticfish[dot]com Eli Saddler, OceanHealth.Org, eli[at]oceanhealth[dot]org

San Francisco, CA — May 17, 2009 – Bay to Breakers hosts the “world’s largest footrace” annually with as many as 100,000 runners and can generate vast amounts of plastic pollution that harms our oceans. During the event, many participants opt for bottled water in single-use plastic containers instead of bringing their own reusable water bottles. This year, anti-plastic environmentalists are attending Bay to Breakers as costumed crusaders to remind participants to bring their own reusable water bottles and bags to the event rather than using single-use… Read the rest

May 13, 2009

Guest Post – Waste is a Luxury

The following is a guest post from Fake Plastic Fish reader Laura Zilverberg, who responded immediately to my request this week for new voices on Fake Plastic Fish. Enjoy her powerful post comparing her experience of waste in Mexico vs. the United States.

Hello Fake Plastic Fish Readers,

I am a 23-year-old resident of Phoenix, Arizona. I am originally from Minnesota and moved out here for the weather college. I wanted to be a broadcast major, but decided very quickly that the industry wasn’t for me. Instead I majored in public relations and am finishing up my certification in nonprofit management. I spent 2008 volunteering at Nuestros Pequeà±os Hermanos Mexico (NPH): a home for about 1,000 orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children. I was one of three primary caretakers for 29 girls in their 2nd year of secondary school, in other words, teenagers.

About the same time I discovered Fake Plastic Fish and realized the need to reduce my own… Read the rest

May 12, 2009

Challenge – Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash!

Beth throws down the gauntlet, upon which Soots proceeds to gnaw. Nom nom nom! It is plastic, after all. Yummy!

So as you all know, I’ve been collecting and tallying my own plastic trash for almost two years. The experience has been educational for me, and I hope, for readers of this blog. I’ll keep doing it. But now it’s your turn.


1) Collect all of your own plastic waste for a minimum of one week. (Longer is okay, too, but try to separate out the weeks’ collections.) What qualifies as yours? Anything that benefits you. So, if your housemate or significant other brings home a tub of yogurt that you both share, the tub goes in your tally. But if you hate yogurt, never touch the stuff, and wouldn’t have bought it for yourself in a million years, it’s not your responsibility. What about stuff for your kids? I’ll leave that up to you. Whatever you decide, just be consistent about collecting it. Personally,… Read the rest

May 8, 2009

May is National Bike Month. Will you give biking a try?

I love my bike. In fact, I’m itching to get out and get on it right now, so this post will be short and sweet. After writing posts about driving, walking, and taking public transit, I’ve saved biking for last because it’s become my favorite. Which is funny since until I got this bike in July of last year, I was afraid of the two-wheeled beasts.

I mentioned two days ago that my community is great for walking. It’s also great for biking, Oakland being included in the U.S. Census’s Top 10 Cities for Biking. (Portland is Number One. Kansas City, MO is last.) And now, there are financial incentives to commute by bike: this year, the The Bicycle Commuter Act went into effect. You can get Commuter Checks through your employer to reimburse bike commuting expenses.

Ironically, commuting is the one thing I don’t do on my bike… since my job is 18 miles away across the bay. But I run errands, grocery shop, and do pretty much … Read the rest

May 7, 2009

Buses and Trains – Going on a power trip

I spend several hours per week sitting quietly in a big plastic box. No, it’s not a new form of therapy. It’s BART. (Bay Area Rapid Transit.)

While I’ve transferred most of my medical and other services to within walking or biking distance of my home, I still have to commute roughly 18 miles each way to my job, which is located on the other side of the San Francisco Bay in Daly City. As I mentioned on Tuesday, we’ve chosen our home location to be within walking distance of a BART station. Fortunately, my office is even closer to a BART station on the other end.

As with walking and driving, public transit has its pros and cons.


Public Transit uses less energy than individual cars. In fact, BART has a carbon calculator as part of its Quick Trip Planner which will let you know how much carbon you save on the trip compared to driving. One leg of my commute on BART saves 18 pounds of CO2. Yes, we’re still going on a power trip. Just not… Read the rest

May 6, 2009

Out of the seat and onto our feet. But is walking really plastic-free?

Monday was a beautiful day for the race — the human race, as Michael likes to say. And although rain appeared imminent, I decided to take a walk. As I mentioned a few months ago, I’ve slowly been switching my healthcare, dental, and other services to providers located within walking distance of my home. Less time on public transit. More time in the fresh air. My groovy new green dentist’s office is 12 minutes away via bicycle and 30-40 minutes on foot, depending on how leisurely I feel and how much time I have.

As with each of the modes of transportation I’m considering this week, walking has its pros and cons. PROS:

Although I live in an urban area with shops and services within walking distance, my walk is beautiful. Okay, that’s not fair. I live in California where flowers bloom all year round. But honestly, I can find something interesting to look at wherever I happen to be.

Walking is great exercise. Why would I take the… Read the rest