The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: February 2010

February 26, 2010

Oh the Irony! WesFeld’s Ocean Inspired Plastic Gowns at New York Fashion Week

Plastic dresses inspired by the ocean? What will those crazy fashion-designing kids think up next?

Last week was New York Fashion Week in NY City. I know this because I watch Project Runway, the only reality show I can admit to watching without embarrassment because it’s all about talent and creativity. And in fact, last summer, I got to have lunch with Tim Gunn, who is as nice in person as he appears on the show.

So it was with disappointment I learned that a couple of contestants from the show have been co-opted by the plastics industry.  (Thanks, Brande, for sending me the link.)  Winners of the 2009 Plastics Make It Possible Design Competition sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (the mouthpiece of the plastics industry), designers Daniel Feld and Wesley Nault created a gorgeous collection of looks called WesFeld, inspired by ocean life.  The dresses really are breathtakingly beautiful as well as sadly ironic.… Read the rest

February 24, 2010

Knitted iPod Cover

Brought to you by String Caddies-R-Us & Procrastination Station

This post falls into the category of Things To Do To Procrastinate On Writing The Fake Plastic Fish Book. It also falls into the category of Too Much Time On My Hands. And also Why Sleep?

1) Clean out drawers (because book writing cannot possibly be done when drawers are messy) and find an old iPod Nano that I never use anymore because the cheap plastic cover came apart and I never replaced it.

2) Think about all the AudioBooks I could listen to with this iPod and wonder if anyone is making a plastic-free iPod cover.

3) Browse and Google for several hours searching for the right iPod cover. Find plenty of options online but none that meet all my criteria. Cover has to be plastic-free. Has to provide access to click wheel and screen without removing iPod from cover. Has to have openings for head phones and USB connection, also without removing from cover. Has to close to protect the … Read the rest

February 22, 2010

Dear Valley Yellow Pages. Sorry I Was Mean.

OMG.  You won’t believe what happened Friday.  I still don’t believe it myself.  Here’s the story.

After hassling with Valley Yellow Pages (not to be confused with AT&T Yellow Pages) last year to be taken off their automatic delivery list, I was finally assured that I would no longer receive their unwanted plastic-bagged phone books.  So you can imagine how irritated I was when a new one showed up on my doorstep last week.

Immediately, I sent the following caustic email.  I was irritated and probably hormonal.  I usually prefer to catch my flies with sugar, despite being a mosquito in their bedrooms. But hey, no one’s perfect.… Read the rest

February 19, 2010

Match vs. Lighter. My Candles Are Awaiting Your Reponse.

I know. You’re probably wondering why I would consider a plastic lighter instead of a match. I’m not! I’m not! Don’t worry. After seeing photos like these of baby albatross chicks who’ve ingested plastic lighters, I would never buy another one of those things.

Detail of photo from the series Midway: Message from the Gyre by Chris Jordan Albatross chicks on Midway Island, thousands of miles from civilization, swallow plastic bottle caps, plastic toys, and plastic lighters. And even if plastic lighers don’t end up inside an unsuspecting animal, they’ll still wind up lasting forever in a landfill.

So let me back up. After seeing photos like the one above of dead albatross chicks two and a half years ago, I made a commitment that after my plastic lighters ran out, I would switch to matches. So even though I still have these plastic lighters in my house, I started looking for plastic-free matches before I … Read the rest

February 17, 2010

Carrying Our Own Containers: Powerful Action or Pointless Inconvenience?

“Do you ever get embarrassed?” A journalist, following my plastic-free life, put that question to me as I handed the butcher my stainless steel pot. I was buying ground meat for my homemade cat food. In my own container. Waste-free. “No,” I answered flippantly. “I haven’t been embarrassed about anything since I turned 40.” But the answer wasn’t quite that simple. I do realize that my actions can seem extreme to many… okay most… people.  And it’s not always easy to buck the status quo.

Whether sending my husband out with a metal tiffin for Chinese soup when I’m sick or bringing my own stainless steel wine glasses to an outdoor music festival to avoid plastic cups, my actions have provoked both smiles and raised eyebrows. And in the end, do my efforts really matter? Can one person bringing her own mug, water bottle, food containers, glass straw, cloth napkins, reusable… Read the rest

February 15, 2010

Collecting Garbage Without Plastic Trash Bags?

It’s a new week, and I’m ready to talk trash. One of the most common questions I get about plastic-free living is what I do for garbage bags. And the second most common question is what to line our waste cans with if plastic grocery bags are banned.

Here’s my short answer: We don’t line our trash can with any plastic bags at all.

The longer answer is that since we make almost zero trash, and the trash we do make is dry, we don’t have any need for bags to collect it.

Read the rest
February 9, 2010

Life Without Plastic’s New Insulated Lunch Bag

Yesterday, I hinted at how I carried home my ice cream from Tara’s in an insulated nearly plastic-free bag. Now, perhaps you have already figured out a plastic-free way to carry hot or cold foods without losing/letting in heat. But more often than not, the choice is a nylon or neoprene bag insulated with plastic foam, right? Some are constructed out of recycled plastic, which is great.  But it’s nice to know that there is an (almost) plastic-free alternative.  That alternative? Wool.

Personally, I was excited when Jay from the company Life Without Plastic sent me information about his new locally-produced insulated wool lunch bag. (Locally-produced means made in Canada, where Life Without Plastic is based, rather than [for those of us in North America] overseas.)… Read the rest

February 8, 2010

Eating Ice Cream for Breakfast — Plastic-Free & Zero Waste

Did you know that Saturday was International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day? Well, it was. Unfortunately, since I’m trying to avoid ice cream packaging waste (All ice cream containers are lined with plastic), I didn’t have any in the house.  And I could tell my freezer was feeling a little sad.

So, remembering Steve L.’s comment here last week, I called Ici, one of the awesome ice cream shops in my neighborhood, to find out if they would handpack a pint in my own container. “No,” they said. “We can only use our own containers. But our containers are compostable.”  Not good enough.  I was looking for a zero waste experience.

So I tried Tara’s Organic, the amazing ice cream shop I wrote about on this very blog a year and a half ago. I called and asked. The answer: An enthusiastic, “YES. Of course you can!” So I did.

Read the rest

February 4, 2010

Disagreeing on Green Values: Why Michael Thinks I’m Ned Flanders

A few weeks ago, my husband Michael forwarded me the NY Times article, “Therapists Report Increase in Green Disputes“:

As awareness of environmental concerns has grown, therapists say they are seeing a rise in bickering between couples and family members over the extent to which they should change their lives to save the planet.

In households across the country, green lines are being drawn between those who insist on wild salmon and those who buy farmed, those who calculate their carbon footprint and those who remain indifferent to greenhouse gases.

Wondering if Michael was trying to tell me something by forwarding that article,  I cornered him one Sunday afternoon while he was minding his own business and quizzed him on his feelings about my plastic-free ways and whether or not he felt I judged him. Here are just a few snippets of our half hour conversation.

[This video uses YouTube’s new Closed Captioning feature.]

Michael’s… Read the rest