The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

July 6, 2009

Plastic Sea Monster crashes Marin’s Green County Fair

I’ve bragged about how green we are here in the Bay Area before, right? Well, leave it to Marin County to host what it called “The Greenest County Fair On Earth” this past weekend. Powered by solar and biodiesel, providing compostable containers and flatware as well as recycling and compost stations to collect them, offering many opportunities for environmental education throughout the fair, and actually becoming a Bay Area Certified Green Business last year, the Marin County Fair is the last place you’d expect to see a lot of plastic, right?

Well, as great as it was, nothing is perfect, and there’s always room for improvement. Plenty of fairgoers were drinking from disposable plastic bottles which had been provided by a few of the vendors. Enter the Plastic Sea Monster! I was actually invited to come and hang out with fairgoers, educate them about plastic, hand out some small flyers, play with the kids and accost the adults. And that’s what I did. For two days. In baking heat. Inside slowly photodegrading plastic. Man, was I happy to get that costume off of me on Saturday night and enjoy the fair like a real person.

Here are a few photos of the event. I was sorry to miss Deborah Hladecek from the Puremothers blog who showed up Saturday evening. We should have exchanged cell phone numbers since we were both there at the same time. She has more photos of the Marin County Fair on her blog. Don’t miss the cutest little piglets you’ve ever seen.

Eco stations:

Solar-powered carousel:

Solar-powered stage:

Corie from Clean Conscience Goods, a company that offers tote bags and other products made in the United States from recycled water bottles. These are not the cheap recycled bags you find in the grocery store but are actual sturdy cloth that looks and feels like canvas.

Alan Godley from Blue Dolphin Alliance who is trying to help people see the connection between about how our actions here on land affect the health of our oceans.

Richard Renner and his Recycle Cycle.

Also in attendance, Betty Biodiesel, riding around on her little biodiesel-powered scooter and doing interviews with other eco folks, like me! Stay tuned for the web interview to be posted soon.

All in all, two productive, fun, and exhausting days. And as Stuart from Green Sangha advised, I probably need to detox after sweating in all that plastic. It’s all for the cause.

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Condo Blues
14 years ago

Last year at the Ohio State Fair the Ohio Foods Pavilion tried to go zero waste with compostable plates, silverware, napkins. And had bins and signage explaining how to use the recycling and composting bins. A step in the right direction. I only hope that they have the recycling and composting stations set up throughout the fairgrounds this year.

14 years ago

I'm so glad you go to the trouble of doing these things. It's very motivating for those of us who are unsure of what to do to help our causes. Thank you for the inspiration and keep up the good work!

kale for sale
14 years ago

And you walked around in all the melting plastic with your trademark Beth smile! You are a work of art. Thank you. I'm glad to hear the progress the fair is making and I like to think the fact that the Bioneers is held at the same site each year influences them. Whatever the influence is, may it continue.

Beth Terry
14 years ago

Oops, Corie. Sorry for misspelling your name. I've corrected the post now! It was great to meet you.

Cara, believe it or not that bag came from Target. One of my friends saw it and bought it for me. It's actually made from organic cotton, and it has zero plastic on it. There is an organic cotton tag that is attached with twine. But this was over a year ago, so I doubt Target still carries the same bags.

Cara Gardner
14 years ago

Beth~ you are so cool! Bless your heart for wandering around in the dust and heat of the fair in toxic plumage to spread the good word. I appreciate that the MC fair is trying to be greener. But of course there's so far to go. I agree with the other commenter that those horrible giant toys are some of the worst offenders.
Is the 4th of July the biggest plastic use holiday??? (we should do an analysis) Seems like everything at the party I went to was made of plastic. Millions of picnics across the country using all things plastic and it's all now going off to the landfill.
By the way,, where can I get one of those "I don't do plastic" bags? :-)

Corie T.
14 years ago

Hi Beth –
It was a pleasure to meet you in person, and what a noble thing you do. Everyone thought that you were part of Clean Conscience exhibit and I wouldn't mind that at all. There were a lot of plastic bags carried by shoppers — I just wished the Fair board banned the use of plastic bags for the retail vendors. It was a great exposure for our products and we enjoyed educating people why "all bags are not created equal". It's a good start but we have to keep trying for next year and for other Fairs.

Hope to see you again soon!

Beth Terry
14 years ago

I didn't have time to get into the carnival section where all the rides and games were, so I missed the plastic toys. Thanks for pointing them out! I'll mention it to fair organizers, for sure, at the same time that I mention the bottled water.

Michael pointed out how ironic it was to be smelling the wafting smoke of barbecue while petting cows. That made me sad. The piglets sure were cute, though.

Did you guys who went get to see all the beautiful art projects? One that left me ambivalent was the decorated reusable water bottle competition — because the bottles were plastic Aladdin bottles, presumably donated by that company. Better because they are reusable. But I don't want to drink out of any plastic.

Lara — actually Betty Biodiesel was interviewing me, so the interview is just the same old stuff about plastic that I always spout. :-)

Pure Mothers
14 years ago

Sorry I missed you too! I agree with Peggy. Wish they would get some earth-friendly toys that we would really want to win! I was happy to see organic food options and raw, vegan food too!

Hopefully we'll meet one of these days, Beth. Keep up your good work and enjoy a detox and massage after 2 days in the hot sun wearing plastic!

Peggy Butler
14 years ago

The biggest remaining (non-green) problem with the fair is the big toys offered by the game vendors…the super-sized stuffed animals and vinyl blow-up toys. This stuff all has PVCs and probably lead in it…all junk that will end up in our landfills. I'm sure that the games are huge money makers, but they need to go. We don't need those crappy toys at our green county fair!

Thanks for all you do!
Peggy Butler
San Rafael

Anita K
14 years ago

a fair without the noise and stink of compressors would be so awesome! You'd think more people would be into that for those reasons alone.

Lara S.
14 years ago

Wow that looks great :)
I can't wait to read the interview about biofuels!

14 years ago

LOL Looks like fun!!! but no Elephant ears??? I expect a report that they made Elephant Ears and re-used the oil for Bio-Diesel. But thats just me.