The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: September 2009

September 29, 2009

All New Updated Plastic Challenge Web Site!

If you haven’t taken the Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge yet, now is the time. The women from See Jane Do are up for it and would love some company!

See Jane Do is an inspirational multi-media project (web, radio, and now print) that seeks to highlight the successes of “ordinary women doing extraordinary things.” I was thrilled to be included in that list and have See Jane Do’s Elisa Parker come visit me, check out my plastic-free progress, and conduct an interview which will be broadcast on KVMR Wed.Oct. 7th from 1-2pm PST. You can listen online as well.

Well, I don’t know how extraordinary it is to collect your plastic trash for several years, or to create a web site about it. I’m just doing what I love. And in that spirit, I stayed up all night last night re-creating the Show Us Your Plastic Trash Challenge web site in WordPress and making it beautiful in the hopes that more people will be inspired to join in. … Read the rest

September 25, 2009

Project Kaisei’s Messages from the Plastic Sea: Products Must Be “Benign by Design”

Inspired by Captain Charles Moore’s tireless efforts to bring attention to the issue of plastic in the ocean, several new organizations and projects have sprung up recently to investigate the Pacific Garbage Patch and to try and find solutions. One of these is Project Kaisei, which conducted an expedition to the North Pacific Gyre last month and has returned to not only report on the problem but help us find solutions.

At a press conference in Sausalito Tuesday morning, Project Kaisei founder Mary Crowley joined with representatives from the State of California as well as nonprofit groups to announce a partnership dedicated to addressing the problems of ocean plastic pollution. No longer satisfied with blaming individuals for the litter problem, this group is committed to pushing for Extended Producer Responsibility, the philosophy that companies that create products must take responsibility for the full life cycle of those products,… Read the rest

September 24, 2009

A Tale of Two Plastic Laundry Baskets

I received the coolest email this morning from Fake Plastic Fish reader Ellen Simpson, who was inspired by this blog to figure out a way to repair her old plastic laundry basket instead of trashing it and buying a new one. She, in turn, inspired me to fix my own broken plastic laundry basket this morning. Here then, are the tales of two baskets, complete with pictures. First, Ellen’s:

from: Simpson, Ellento Beth Terrydate Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 7:23 AMsubject Laundry basket repair

Hi Beth,

I’m a big fan of your blog, and I wanted to let you know you inspired me to do a little green repair this past week. I have a plastic laundry basket that my husband and I have used for years. It’s cracking in a few places, and a few weeks ago one of the handles broke off completely.

My first inclination was to throw it away and get a new one. But then I thought, what would Beth (and her dad) do? I decided to try to repair the handle. Gluing the old handle back on wouldn’t… Read the rest

September 23, 2009

Living in the Age of Stupid or the Age of Compassion?

Monday began with me in a classroom in Benicia, teaching children about plastic, and ended in a cheesy piano bar in San Francisco’s Union Square. In between, a phenomenal global event.

Sitting in a Century movie theater in downtown San Francisco, I was taken over by waves of grief for our planet and especially its people. As I emailed to a friend, I think I must have held my breath for the entire length of the Age of Stupid premiere, a film event broadcast to 440 cities in 63 countries.

View the trailer:

Set in the year 2055, after the effects of global climate change have basically wiped out most humans and other animals on earth, a lone archivist records a message, illustrating it with a handful of the billions of stories he’s collected in a massive database he calls the Global Archive, before transmitting the entire collection into outer space as a cautionary tale to future civilizations. The big question: Why didn’t we save ourselves… Read the rest

September 22, 2009

Bringing Ocean Plastic to a Classroom in Benicia

What the heck do I know about teaching kids? What if they won’t listen? What if I say the wrong things?

Those were the worries I had after agreeing to join Water Education Specialist Sue Alfeld in a Bay Area classroom to discuss my journey to cut back on plastic. Organized by The Bay Nature Institute in Berkeley as part of their “Blogging for Biodiversity” program, I planned to come and observe Sue’s lesson on ocean plastic and the fate of Laysan albatross birds and also participate in sharing my own experiences.

(Read more about Sue’s program in the Bay Nature article, “Turning Back The Plastic Tide.”)

Well, those worries melted away as soon as I met the warm and totally down to earth Sue. And the education started before we even got to the classroom. After picking me up at a bus stop near Benicia Middle School, Sue showed me where she and many residents of the area had gathered to collect trash during Saturday’s… Read the rest

September 21, 2009

In which I run into No Impact Man again, and nothing happens…

… you know, because of that chemistry accident several years ago while he was working late at the lab so that now things just slide right through him instead of creating an imp… Oh, forget it. That was the scenario Michael created tonight after we saw the No Impact Man movie again and heard Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man himself, answer questions at the Shattuck movie theatre in Berkeley with our friends Nancy and David. I’m guessing Michael has seen Watchmen one too many times.

Anyway, while the movie is a great gateway into the No Impact Project (in fact, it’s powerful enough to make some bloggers cry), the No Impact Man book is the hard stuff, the thing your parents warned you about. And I think it’s about time to start discussing! (Disclosure: If you purchase via the link on this page, My Plastic-Free Life earns a small percentage.)  Don’t worry. If you don’t have the book yet, you can still play. The book… Read the rest

September 14, 2009

Where’s That Money I Left Lying Around?

I know it was there the last time I checked. Where’d it go?

When I heard the topic of this month’s Green Mom’s Carnival was “Conserving Resources,” I was stumped. I mean, I write about the topic every single time I post, right? Using less plastic = conserving resources. Plastic comes from oil. Use less plastic and conserve oil. Almost every consumer product these days comes packaged in plastic. Buying fewer products in plastic packing = buying fewer products in general = conserving resources. All of our electronic devices are made from plastic. Avoiding plastic means buying fewer technological toys = conserving materials and energy, right? What new thing can I say on the topic?

All this conservation should make a difference in my wallet. So how did I find myself at the ATM last week unable to withdraw cash because my checking account was empty? “Wait!” I thought. “I don’t buy things! There… Read the rest

September 11, 2009

Bag It!

What’s better than having Oprah show up on your doorstep with Tim Gunn and the ghost of Ed McMahon to inform you that you’ve won a billion dollars, the end of environmental degradation, world peace, and a fabulous new wardrobe made from fair trade organic chocolate that you can actually eat once it goes out of style? Um… probably nothing. But yesterday, I experienced maybe the next best thing.

Jeb and Jim from Reel Thing Productions showed up on my doorstep to spend the day filming and interviewing me about plastic for their new documentary Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?, directed by Suzan Beraza, a film which “chronicles the global production, use, and disposal of plastic bags and other plastics.”

Check out the trailer for the film which is expected to be completed by the end of the year:

I wish I had thought to photograph or record them as they were recording me because the guys were funny and committed and serious with… Read the rest

September 8, 2009

Male Chicks Macerated for Our Eggs — But We CAN Take Action!

Do your eggs come from a certified humane producer? Please read this article anyway because it may apply to you, too.

This post is not about plastic. And the information I’m going to share is gruesome, alarming, and heartbreaking. I’ve been sitting with this knowledge all weekend but didn’t want to write a post until I had more information and ideas for action that we can take. Please read on if you care about the welfare of farm animals, and especially if you enjoy eating eggs.

A Shocking Revelation

Last Thursday, Michael forwarded me an article and video about a practice that seems so cruel it takes my breath away. The article, “Video Shows Price of Cheap Eggs: Chicks Ground Up Alive” describes a video posted on YouTube by the group Mercy for Animals revealing some pretty inhumane conditions at a facility that hatches chicks for egg producers. The video, Undercover Investigation at Hy-Line Hatchery, shows chicks… Read the rest

September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day Pesto and Potatoes

It’s Labor Day, and I’m trying to take a break from thinking about plastic. Because you know what? Once you have your systems in place, it’s easy to eat great food without worrying about plastic waste. For example, what I’m eating right now…

It’s a snack, for sure, inspired by my favorite pizza in the whole world, Potesto from Pizza Rustica in my neighborhood. But unlike Potesto pizza, my little snack today is 100% vegan.

I’ll tell you the ingredients but not the amounts because I just tossed everything into the food processor and kept adding and tasting and adding and tasting until it seemed right to me.

1 very big bunch of fresh basil (from the farmers market)


Several handfuls of roasted almonds (also from the farmers market. I used almonds because I don’t like the taste of pine nuts, although I can’t really explain why. I don’t like hazel nuts either, for a similar unexplainable… Read the rest