The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: June 2009

June 30, 2009

Fixing my Blue Plastic Umbrella

Plastic is good for some things, right? Like keeping us dry in the rain. A few months ago, Treehugger posted an article about eco-friendly umbrellas ranging from those made from recycled plastic to one touted as the first biodegradable umbrella. So when my little blue umbrella broke, I considered replacing it with one of those — until I remembered that the most eco-friendly choice would be to repair the one I have!

The problem: One of the umbrella’s ribs was broken. (I now know it’s called a rib after Googling “parts of an umbrella.”)

Upon close inspection, I could see that a Springy Part A needed to go back into Straight Part B.

But how to hold them together? Michael came up with the brilliant idea of using a straightened paperclip. And voilà !

I twisted the paperclip with pliers to hold it in place and bent it in a circle to keep it from puncturing the umbrella.

And here’s the finished product, complete with … Read the rest

June 29, 2009

Kathleen Egan: Surfing the Plastic Wave

Kathleen Egan — surfer, artist, and environmental activist — heads up SF Surfrider’s Plastics Subcommittee, which is working to end the plague of plastic pollution in our oceans. I first met her last month displaying her Plastic Wave sculpture (made from the collected plastic of 12 friends over two weeks) at Adventure Ecology’s SMART Art competition.

We met again this past Friday and ended up hanging out at San Francisco’s Pier 29-1/2 (where David de Rothschild is building his Plastiki boat from recycled plastic) after an unfortunate collision between a U-Haul trailer and a metal warehouse gate. Sitting and waiting for the repair people to arrive gave us a chance to see a glimpse of the Plastiki in progress, play with a couple of cute dogs, and enjoy the sun while chatting about all things plastic.

Kathleen began surfing in 2001 after moving to San Francisco and having a surfer friend take her under his wing, and … Read the rest

June 26, 2009

Kids Less Plastic: A Guest Post from Deborah Hladecek

Deborah Hladecek is newly committed to reducing plastic in her family’s life. And living in Northern California, she’s practically my neighbor. So I was thrilled when she offered to write a guest post about what she’s been doing about the plastic in her child’s world. Deborah writes the truly awesome Pure Mothers blog. She also participated in the Show Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge this month. It was an eye-opening experience for her. Check out her stash.

When Beth at Fake Plastic Fish asked for more bloggers to write about plastic, I thought, what could I possibly have to say that she hasn’t said already? She’s the plastic-free goddess! Then my toddler clamored and clawed his way on to my lap to see what I was doing on the computer and I realized that I have another perspective – the mommy view. Beth has her cats, and I have another human being using more resources and contributing to my plastic consumption.… Read the rest

June 22, 2009

Organic food in plastic packaging – Isn’t it ironic?

Arriving late to the Elmwood Theater Saturday night for the film Food Inc, Michael and I were stuck in the front row with our necks craning to see the screen. Believe me. It was worth it. Even if you’ve already read The Omnivore’s Dilemma or Fast Food Nation, seeing images of downed cattle, abused chickens, and mistreated factory workers up close brings the subject home on a visceral level.

But in addition to needing a reminder of why I should avoid fast food and support our farmer’s markets, I had an ulterior motive. I wanted to see if the film addressed any issues of plastics in the environment and in our food supply. And it kind of did, in a very subtle and ironic way. One of the interviewees in this film is Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm Organic, the third largest producer of yogurt in the U.S. A glimpse of the Stonyfield plant as well as a walk through the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, CA showed row after row of plastic containers.… Read the rest

June 19, 2009

Confession of a Fast Food Addict who ate at Amanda’s and forgot to BYO.

The theme of the Green Mom’s Carnival this month is Eco-Confessions. And I have a big one. I love fast food. Every time I pass a McDonald’s I have to close my eyes and count to ten to keep from going in and ordering a double cheeseburger. This fact probably grosses some of you out. And when I think about what a McDonald’s double cheeseburger is made of, it grosses me out too. But it’s hard to think about the cows and environmental degradation wrought by the meat industry (and the mono-culture GMO corn industry) when I catch a whiff of those burgers sizzling on the grill.

But that’s not really my confession. Because mostly, I manage to resist that McDonald’s urge that was instilled in me as a child through no fault of my own. I resist and resist. And the few times a year I succumb, I get out with no bag, no napkin, no cup or straw or ketchup pack. I do try to mitigate the damage as much as possible because I’m always prepared… Read the rest

June 18, 2009

The Discovery of a Challenge

The following is a guest post from Fake Plastic Fish reader Diana McLennan who finds that pretending she’s on the show Little House on the Prairie is a fun green motivator. Diana joined the Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge a few weeks ago.

I’m a single girl in my twenties in Los Angeles, working in what’s essentially the legal department of an entertainment company. The building I work in is actually quite progressive in the “green” arena—they just installed a ginormous field of solar panels–and it was an article in the weekly company newsletter that jumpstarted my current obsession with minimizing my carbon footprint—which, of course, includes avoiding plastic. (Getting the word out DOES make a difference!)

The article was on green issues and mentioned a few blogs -— like No Impact Man —- written by people who weren’t content with just chucking things in the recycling bin like I was:… Read the rest

June 17, 2009

Plastic-Free Stain Remover and other Laundry ideas

Lunch at Oliveto with my friend Simone last Saturday was great fun. Too much fun. I laughed so hard, I spilled coffee all over the table and all over my sleeve. Normally, I’d just take it home and “Shout it Out.” But not this time. This past week, I ran out of the plastic bottle of Shout I’d been using for the last two years and was determined to find a plastic-free alternative.

But the plastic bottle was not my only concern. Do you know what chemicals are in Shout? Terrible nasty ones or perfectly benign? Unless you work for S.C. Johnson, you’re as clueless as I am because the company doesn’t reveal it’s ingredients. Here’s the FAQ from the Shout web site:

Q. What are the ingredients in Shout®? A. We can’t give away our “trade secrets,” but we can say that Shout® Laundry Stain Removers are detergent based with powerful cleaning agents. Shout® does not contain any phosphates or bleach.… Read the rest

June 10, 2009

I would walk 500 miles: A guest post by Sunny Yukon

The following is a guest post from Fake Plastic Fish reader Sunny Yukon. All I can say is that I wish I were this funny!

Coincidentally I was listening to this song by The Proclaimers yesterday.

By the end of the day I fell down at my door. I was exhausted!

I helped my son with a fundraising activity his scout troup was doing yesterday evening. Roadside clean-up. We were assigned a 3+ kilometre stretch of highway, given orange vests and garbage bags, and told it should be about three hours of work for our group to earn $500. And off we went!

Three hours later, we were a little over 1/2 done. The full-sized pickup we had was filled with bags of trash. The leader said it was the most trash he’d ever seen doing this fundraiser.

There wasa bike with a trashed food wrappersnewspaperspaper cupsStyrofoamhubcapsblown tiresgas capsgas cansplastic wrappingbungee cordswireplastic lids from paper cupsstrawsunderwearpop cansbeer bottlesflyersplastic… Read the rest

June 8, 2009

Captain Moore has one word for you: Refuse!

Captain Charles Moore is one of my personal heroes and the man whose work discovering, studying, and bringing the world’s attention to plastics in the oceans changed my own life completely two years ago. So you can bet that when I was invited to attend his presentation at Google in Mountain View last week, I rearranged my work schedule, rented a Zip Car, and got my butt down there.

Captain Moore’s story is the subject of the article commonly known as Plastic Ocean. If you haven’t read it yet, stop what you’re doing and read it now! But be sure to return to this page afterwards to listen to his important message for all of us.

Moore is not much taller than I, but his presence is captivating and the force of his conviction, palpable. Wearing a necklace made of plastic found out in the North Pacific Gyre, he is a man who has looked into the abyss, not once but repeatedly, and returned to warn us about it. His eyes twinkle, but they also look… Read the rest

June 4, 2009

WOD is coming next week! What are you doing about it?

Friday, June 5, is World Environment Day, which has received a lot of deserved attention, but did you know that a few days later is World Oceans Day?

World Oceans Day has been unofficially celebrated since its inception in 1992, but 2009 is the first year it’s been officially recognized by the U.N. A plethora of events will be held in the world’s coastal regions all next week to observe the day and learn about our connection to and effect on the world’s oceans. From beach cleanups to film festivals to educational presentations, there are many ways to get involved.

This Sunday, June 7, 10a-12p, I’ll be joining the Ocean Beach cleanup in San Francisco (Judah Street Entrance), wearing my Plastic Sea Monster costume. This event is sponsored by and San Francisco Surfrider Foundation. I’d love to see some of you Bay Area folks there!

June 8, Monday, 6:30p-9pWorld Oceans Day Film FestivalMontara Lighthouse,… Read the rest