The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: September 2010

September 30, 2010

Green Shipping Materials, Including Plastic-Free Paper Packing Tape

Before companies send me products to review, I always request that they not use any plastic packaging, including tape. Some comply. Others have a hard time with it, and their packaging ends up in my tally. I’m writing this post not only to help my readers make plastic-free packaging choices, but also to have a web page to which I (and you!) can direct vendors when asking for no plastic packaging. Just trying to make life easier for all of us.

So, here are the options:

Re-Use Shipping Materials

The greenest option will always be to reuse what you already have.

Paper Packing Tape

I buy plain paper tape that tears off easily from the roll. I bought this tape at a local office supply store.

The tape is water-activated. I tear off a strip and run it under the sink to wet.  Since I don’t ship packages very often, I don’t feel the need for a tape dispenser.  But retailers may want to invest in one.

Then, I use the tape to seal up my own reused shipping… Read the rest

September 28, 2010

Book Review: The True Adventures of Foamy and Leafy

Foamy and Leafy is a kids’ book about the plastic in the North Pacific Gyre.  This review is a guest post by plastic-free blogger,  Linda Anderson, who blogs at Citizen Green  She’s filling in for me today while my eyes heal.  Please stop by her blog and leave comments or suggestions.

Several months ago I was surfing the web to find children’s literature about the issue of plastic debris in the ocean and I came across this comic book called, The True Adventures of Foamy and Leafy.  Foamy and Leafy are two pieces of colorful plastic foam that were glued to a Halloween pumpkin by a child.  The pumpkin rotted and decayed, but the pieces of plastic, being very non-degradable, blew away with the wind.

Foamy blew into a small creek and eventually ended up in the Atlantic Ocean.  She actually floats through the Panama Canal and ends up in the Pacific Ocean.  Leafy blew away and got stuck to a truck tire. … Read the rest

September 24, 2010

Innkeeper HEARTS Green Guests

A guest post by Alexandra Grabbe. 

My husband and I have been green innkeepers on Cape Cod since 2004. The name of our B&B is Chez Sven, and our blog is Chezsven Blog: Wellfleet Today.

Over the years, we have learned to target green guests, who care about the environment, turn out lights when they leave a room, and recycle plastics, cardboard, and glass.

Unfortunately, not everyone who visits has this mindset. We have had a number of eco-conscious guests born in the USA, but the majority come from abroad: England, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, The Netherlands. I am always fascinated to hear about a country’s recycling policies and expectations for eco-travel.

I think Beth would like living in Germany, where the municipality makes recycling easy. There are bins on street corners in major cities. They have it down to a science, according to German guests, who never fail to separate out paper, cardboard, and plastic before leaving their rooms… Read the rest

September 23, 2010

I Wish I Could See You

But I can’t because I’ve worn out my eyes in front of the computer, and I can’t see anything right now. Good thing I can touch type. But seriously, I need some help. My doctor suggested I go back to using the plastic-encased eye drops I used a few years ago when I had a cornea problem. So I did. And they didn’t even work. *Sigh*

Does that picture look blurry?  Because honestly I can’t tell.  My eyes refuse to focus.  Yesterday, I was looking at various fonts for a project I was working on, and I thought, “Ooh, that one looks nice.  It has a drop shadow under it.”  Um, a drop shadow that only I could see!

Some people would say I have Computer Vision Syndrome.  Eyes sore and red.  Double vision.  Headache.  I’ve had this problem intermittently for a few months now, but this week is the worst.  I know I need to lay off straining my eyes for a while.  But with the eye problems I’ve had in the past, I want a professional… Read the rest

September 20, 2010

Logitech Webcam C210: More Packaging than Product

I’ve been looking for a webcam for a while because I want to be able to meet with people via Skype rather than travel to meet up in person. I’ve done way too much flying this year, and all those emissions are weighing hard on my conscience.

I hoped to find a secondhand webcam rather than buying a new one. But after an unfortunate incident with a Radio Shack employee last month, I ended up with a $20 store credit and nothing else to spend it on. So I applied the credit toward the purchase of a very basic Logitech webcam.

Check out what Arya and I found when I got home and opened the box:

The camera, install disk, and instruction manual together weigh 4.3 ounces. The packaging material weighs 4.4 ounces — more than the product itself! The plastic window will be added to my tally in September. The cardboard box will go into the recycling bin. But I can’t let that be the end of the story.  Some small amounts of packaging are unavoidable,… Read the rest

September 16, 2010

How to Take Apart and Clean a Stinky Kenmore (Whirlpool) Top Loading Washer

Seems like this is the year for smelly appliances and DIY solutions. A few months ago, it was dishwasher funk. And then recently, we noticed a linty residue on our clothes and a moldy smell coming from the washing machine. (The residue was not laundry powder; we use soapnuts.)

So, how is fixing a washing machine related to plastic? Well, we did end up with some plastic waste during the week-long ordeal. And learning to fix things, in general, is one of my strategies for avoiding new purchases and hence, new plastic. But really, I’m just so tickled that I was able to take the whole thing apart, clean it, and put it back together again, that I have to share!

This post will be long and winding and contain a lot of pictures. Hopefully, it will be funny, too, because who doesn’t enjoy a good washing machine repair story? And since I spent a ton of time on the web looking up parts and procedures and advice, I’ve included a list of all the resources I … Read the rest

September 7, 2010

Feelgoodz natural plastic-free flip flops

I need new flip flops. Seriously. I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes since I stopped buying new plastic three years ago, and this summer, I’ve been walking around on worn down foam Teva’s that look like this:

Any podiatrist worth his/her degree would be appalled.

So anyway, I needed new flip flops, and I remembered that Lisa from Condo Blues had worn a pair of natural rubber FeelGoodz flip flops to the Blogher conference last year and loved them. So I wrote to the company and asked for a pair to review on Fake Plastic Fish.

(Disclosure:  If you purchase Feelgoodz flip flops via this link, I earn a small commission to support my plastic-free mission.)

The shoes were sent in a plain cardboard box without any additional packaging.

The flip flops come in all different colors, but I chose black for the sake of versatility. I’m not a big shoe collector, like many women are.

About Feelgoodz Flip Flops:

1) Made from 100% natural rubber.… Read the rest

September 3, 2010

Inspired By Madonna

Once upon a time, I was obsessed with Madonna.

Okay, bear with me.  At first glance, this post will seem to have nothing to do with plastic or the environment or anything I normally write about on this blog.  But read on.  Connections will be made.  Oh yes, they will be made.

So anyway, I was obsessed with Madonna.  My close friends will tell you that that is an utter understatement. Back in the 90’s, I discovered eBay and ended up spending an embarrassing amount of money on every Madonna magazine I could get my hands on.  The picture on the left represents only a small fraction of my stash — what was left after I finally sold most of it back on eBay years later.  (Today, the only thing that remains is an unopened Sex book and this photo.)

I also went through a phase of making insane Madonna art. It’s all online, but I doubt you’ll find it. And believe me, you really, really wouldn’t want to anyway.

Here’s the thing:  I wasn’t… Read the rest

September 1, 2010

California: We Could Have Been A Leader!

I’m sick at heart this morning.  I was going to write a post about how empowered I felt after taking my washing machine apart and putting it back together again.  But I’m too upset by the actions of the California senate this morning to give a crap about that.


Last night, I fell asleep in my living room chair while watching episodes of Ugly Betty on DVD.   Early this morning, Michael woke me up with some ugly news: California legislators struck down AB1998, the California plastic bag ban bill that so many of us have been excited about.

I wrote about AB1998 back in May right before it passed the California Assembly.  I was so full of hope. The bill looked like it would go all the way.  Even the governator had committed to signing it.  But the American Chemistry Council spent these last few weeks buying politicians and releasing scary commercials (full of lies) to convince voters and legislators that banning plastic bags would pretty… Read the rest