The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: July 2010

July 29, 2010

The Story of a Headache

Flying home from Maryland on Saturday, I sat next to a really cute guy. Unfortunately, the plane was completely full, so I couldn’t switch seats to get away from him. Well, not him. He was cute. But his Axe cologne, or whatever heinous product he was wearing, made my eyes water, nose itch, throat close up, and left me with a throbbing headache.

I reached for a handkerchief to cover my nose, but sadly my very helpful dad had tossed in a Bounce dryer sheet when he did my laundry, and my hanky just made me sneeze even more.

While on vacation, I caught a nasty cold/flu, which I can deal with because my body will fight it off.  But the body doesn’t fight off the effects of environmental chemicals the way it does an infection.  Instead, it becomes more and more sensitized with repeated exposure to allergens. In fact, I just recently noticed my nose itching from Michael’s stick deodorant that he has used for years. How can I get away from the onslaught… Read the rest

July 27, 2010

More Plastic Crap, brought to you by SkyMall

Do you flip through the SkyMall Catalog when you fly? Isn’t it great? In addition to adding greenhouse gases directly to the atmosphere from the flight itself, we can also shop our way to global warming. (And yes, I feel guilty every time I get on an airplane.)

Here are a few of the SkyMall gems I spotted during my recent trip…

A plastic cat litter box in the shape of a plant pot, complete with plastic plant:

This isn’t just tacky, it’s not even functional.  First of all, if you turn it to the wall to hide it from guests (as in the inset), how is your cat supposed to use it? And can you imagine sticking your head in there to clean it out? Who would let their cat track litter through the living room? The sad thing is that people might buy it thinking it’s a cute idea and then trash it when they discover it’s not. Just more plastic in the landfill.

Here’s a fake plastic Sumo Wrestler statue for your yard:

And if having the statue… Read the rest

July 21, 2010

Will You Drink From A Public Water Fountain?

While traveling, I bring my stainless steel travel mug or water bottle with me for everything from water to soda to coffee.  On the cross country trip with my dad, I ended up with some plastic, but none of it was plastic bottles or cups.  In 7-Elevens and mini marts across the country, I brought my reusable mug and asked if I could fill it up with coffee or water or soda.  Not one person refused.  And sometimes, if they were available, I’d fill up from free water fountains.

At the airport, you can bring your mug or water bottle through security empty and fill it at the water fountain on the other side.  I make this suggestion regularly when asked about staying hydrated on planes.  But lately, I’ve been getting questions about whether or not water fountains are safe to drink from.

Elizabeth Royte, author of the excellent book, Bottlemania, which I highly recommend, wants to know what you think on the issue.  On the web site, Adventures in Climate… Read the rest

July 17, 2010

Cross Country Trip: Part 1

Dad and I set out on Thursday from Oakland, CA and headed east.  I’m trying my best to avoid plastic while traveling, but some things seem unavoidable and others are just accidental.

First of all, we need to carry a cooler for snacks and drinks.  Dad likes to have lots of soda.  And we are bringing our own snacks (bananas, nuts, bread, etc.) to avoid buying a lot of junk food on the road, although we are not completely avoiding it. In fact, ice cream makes frequent appearances in our itinerary.  So anyway, we’re using a plastic foam cooler that I already had, and we bought a bag of ice in a plastic bag to fill it.  In the future, we’ll refill the ice from motel ice machines to avoid additional plastic bags.

We also bought.. wait… wait… oh my god…


Okay, now let me clarify. We bought two 2-1/2 gallon jugs of water to keep in the car in case we break down in the desert. We don’t plan to open it except in an emergency.… Read the rest

July 15, 2010

Why are body washes in plastic bottles more popular than bar soap?

While I love my boyfriend Isaiah Mustafa’s hot and funny Old Spice commercial, I do not love the product he is selling: Old Spice Scented Body Wash.

But according to a recent NPR story on men switching to bath gels, more and more men seem to think that body wash gels work better than bar soap. As a woman, I find bar soap to work fine, if not better than bodywash. So why the sudden unfortunate switch among men?

Why unfortunate? Because first of all, the ingredients suck:


The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database gives the product a score of 5: Moderate Hazard.

And second, of course, is the plastic bottle. The NPR story ends with a brief mention of the environmental impact:

Mr. John … Read the rest

July 12, 2010

Did you give this reusable bag to Beth Terry?

Yesterday, my dad and I had brunch with Beth Terry, the motivational speaker who bought the domain before I even knew you could do such a thing. We comment on each others’ blogs occasionally and make our readers think we’re talking to ourselves. She happened to be leaving Oahu the day after I arrived, so we met up in the morning for brunch at Dukes in Waikiki and exchanged gifts.

I gave her a GlassDharma glass drinking straw, and she gave me a copy of her book, 101 Ways to Make Your Life Easier, and a reusable bag with a funny story. Apparently, Beth was in the airport a while back, and a woman noticed the name on her luggage tag. Excited, the woman dug in her own luggage and handed Beth a reusable bag, thanking her for her work around plastic pollution. Or something like that. Beth says she thinks she told her that she wasn’t me but would see that I got the bag if she ever met up with me.

Well, she did. So if you are the woman from the airport,… Read the rest

July 9, 2010

Fake Plastic Fish on the road

Hi everybody.  Writing this post sucks.  But then, so do a lot of things in life.

I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be leaving tomorrow for a 2-week trip and may not blog much while I’m gone.   As many of you know, my parents have lived part-time in Hawaii for several years, and I’ve written about visiting them (and the plastic in Hawaii) more than once.

01/21/2008: Plastic in Paradise

01/23/2008:  Some Things About Hawaii That Have Little To Do With Plastic

01/16/2009:  Cutting Waste While Traveling: It’s Not So Hard

01/19/2009: Aloha! Plastic Tally from Hawaii and Visiting Sea Turtle Beach

08/18/2009:  Visiting a Plastic Paradise

Tomorrow, I leave to visit  my parents’ condo in Waikiki for the very last time.   My dad’s there now, selling all their furniture on Craigslist and cleaning up.  I’m going to help him finish.  My mom is with my sister in Maryland.  And my sister is just trying to hold … Read the rest

July 8, 2010

Facebook Plastic Crap Wall of Shame

What are some of the worst examples of useless plastic crap you’ve seen? After my post about Le Froglet single-serving wine and rant about single-servings in general, you guys posted a ton of other examples in the comments and also on the Fake Plastic Fish Facebook wall. Inspired (and grossed out), I created a new Facebook page for us to vent our frustrations about the excesses of plastic we encounter:  The Plastic Crap Wall of Shame.  (

Inspiration came from Lisa Borden, who vented about individually-wrapped ice cubes (oh yes, for real) and Vanessa Farmer, who ranted about individual plastic cupcake holders. Since I set up the page just a few days ago, people have posted disposable single serving baby bottles, Silly Bandz bracelets, Starbucks splash sticks, Shutter Shades, and a whole lot more.

I know what I usually say about Shame and Guilt… that they’re not helpful or productive.… Read the rest

July 7, 2010

Walnut Mushroom Lentil Veggie Burgers that would have been vegan if I hadn’t added cheese at the last minute

This past weekend, I brought homemade veggie burgers to my friends Red and Jen’s house for the 4th of July. While everyone else was downing hamburgers, I was putting my veggie burgers on the grill and praying that they would hold together. The result was mixed. They tasted great but were kind of mushy. I was going for something like the walnut mushroom burgers from Amanda’s in Berkeley, but I don’t think I hit it. Here’s the recipe and plastic-free ingredients I used based on the lentil walnut burger recipe I found at Maybe I should reduce the amount of lentils next time. What do you think?


1 cup red lentils (from Whole Foods bulk bin in my own container)

2 cups water (tap, of course)

1 tbsp olive oil (bought in bulk in own container from The Pasta Shop in Oakland)

1 cup finely chopped onion (loose, no plastic bag)

4 cloves garlic, minced (loose, no plastic bag)

1 tsp ground cumin (from Whole Foods bulk … Read the rest

July 1, 2010

Plastic grocery bags: Ban them, tax them, or knit fake plastic fish?

Last month, I wrote about California’s plastic bag ban bill (AB 1998), and Fake Plastic Fish reader Old Novice commented that she thought bag bans were a bad idea and would instead favor a bag fee or tax instead. Well, the bill passed the full Assembly as well as the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, and it has now to pass another committee and then the full Senate. I’m in favor of the bill because it’s what we have. I think we need to do something about plastic bags, and I’d rather see a bag ban pass than nothing at all. But is a ban better than a fee? Let’s talk about that.

The Problems with Plastic Bags

According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition:

•Roughly 19 billion plastic bags are distributed in California annually.

•Less than 5% are currently recycled.

•Even when bags are properly disposed, they often blow out of trash cans, garbage trucks, and landfills and become litter.

•Most California retailers subsidize… Read the rest