The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: October 2010

October 27, 2010

Green Burial: Like Composting Food Waste, and Your Body is the Food.

This post might creep some of you out.  But with Halloween coming, the members of the Green Moms Carnival decided to do something a little macabre and write about green funerals.  I’m okay with that.  While it’s hard to talk about death and what happens to us after we die,  I do find myself thinking about it a lot as I’m walking home from BART late at night, glancing around furtively to make sure no one’s following me.  Will this be my last walk home?  What haven’t I finished? Have I done enough so far? And what will happen to this body I carry around once I’m not in control of it anymore?  I don’t want my final act to contradict my life’s work.

Traditional Cemetery = Landfill

By equating a cemetery with a landfill, I’m not trying to be disrespectful here. All my friends and family who have passed on are buried in traditional cemeteries. But as in a landfill where organic matter like food scraps, yard… Read the rest

October 25, 2010

Plastic-Free Fall Decorating Ideas

Do you enjoy decorating your home for the holidays?  I’m kind of a scrooge when it comes to anything holiday-ish.  It seems Michael and I find ourselves in denial from October through the end of the year.  But I realize we are in the minority.  My friend Lisa Sharp, who blogs at Retro Housewife Goes Green, loves to decorate  — without plastic. In this guest post, she takes you around her house to share her own decorations and reveals the hidden plastics you might not think to watch out for.

What’s your favorite plastic-free holiday idea?

A walk down the fall decor aisle at the store and you see plastic, plastic and more plastic.

So can you have your home beautifully decorated for fall without all the plastic? Yes, you can.  Here are some great plastic-free decorations to get you started.

Decorating with nature is a great way to avoid plastic. Look for local pumpkins, mums, gourds, freshly fallen leaves, acorns, pine cones, and anything… Read the rest

October 22, 2010

Perfect Plastic-Free Wooden Hairbrush

I’m in love with Life Without Plastic’s new plastic-free wooden hairbrush. Bald people, please don’t run away. This post has something for you too.

This is not the perfect hairbrush.

My old beat up plastic brush has served me well for many years. I would continue to use it except that the little plastic balls on the ends of the plastic bristles are coming off, and without those balls, the bristles are murder on my hair. (Don’t worry. I have another use for the old plastic one. And it’s cute, as you’ll see at the end of this post.)

So I went looking for another brush that wasn’t made of plastic and didn’t have little plastic balls to come loose in the environment. About a year ago, I bought this one.

This is not the perfect brush either.

I used that boar bristle brush maybe twice. I wish I could have tried it in the store before bringing it home. In addition to the fact that it’s an animal product, and nowadays… Read the rest

October 20, 2010

What Do You Think About Stonyfield Farm’s New PLA Yogurt Cups?

In the same week that Pepsico pulled its SunChips compostable PLA package off grocery store shelves, Stonyfield Farm announced its new PLA yogurt cups. And while I pretty much dissed the SunChips bag in my post last week, I am feeling a little warmer towards Stonyfield’s effort. Not hot. Not warm and fuzzy. But while I think there are better options, I have to concede that the new yogurt cup is a step in the right direction, and I’ll tell you why. (Of course I’ll tell you why. That’s the purpose of this blog.)

Prepare yourself for a long post.  There’s a lot of information here, but I think it’s all important.  So get yourself a snack and settle in.

PLA vs. Polystyrene

Stonyfield’s new yogurt cups replace the multipack cups that were previously made from polystyrene. That’s right. While their larger sized and single-serving containers are made from #5 polypropylene plastic and can be returned for… Read the rest

October 18, 2010

TEDx: Just One More Scary Thing

From my experience, feeling fear means something is worth doing.

You all know about the TED Talks, right?  The annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences bring together leading thinkers and doers giving the talks of their lives.  And these talks are accessible to the public via the TED web site, a fantastic repository of ideas and inspiration.  (Check out talks by Captain Charles Moore and artist Chris Jordan on the TED stage.)

TEDx: Great Pacific Garbage Patch

In less than a month, I’ll be joining oceanographer Sylvia Earle, activist actor Ed Begley, Jr, environmentalist David de Rothschild, and many more experts and visionaries on stage at TEDx: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in Santa Monica, CA.

My topic: Leading by example.

And yes, I’m nervous.

In keeping with the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” TEDx was created “to give communities, organizations and individuals… Read the rest

October 14, 2010

Canning Food for the Winter is Plastic-Free — Except for the Jar Lids!

Want to avoid zip lock bags in the freezer this winter? One way is to dry summer produce, as Jean Nicks suggested a couple of weeks ago, instead of freezing it.  Another method is to can produce in glass jars.  In this post, Fake Plastic Fish reader Brekke Bounds explains what she’s learned about plastic in canning jar lids and shares her spiced applesauce recipe, complete with pictures.

Living in Chicago, I am very lucky to be surrounded by great local food options. There is a farmers market just 10 minutes from my house as well as a co-op committed to local and organic foods. But, living in the Midwest means that there are several months out of the year there is very little in the way of fresh produce available locally. Because of this I’ve always been interested in preserving food. My grandmother did a lot of canning. I specifically remember her canned peaches and her canned green beans. Both delicious. So, I decided that this was… Read the rest

October 12, 2010

Cat & Dog Acne from Plastic Bowls?

Our cats have always eaten their homemade food out of nice ceramic dishes that we got for free or almost free at a yard sale. (Arya is practicing her scary Halloween demon kitty face.)

But apparently, not all cats are so lucky. Michael came home last Friday and told me his workmate’s cat had developed acne, and that her vet said she should stop feeding him from a plastic bowl. Huh? I mean, I’ve heard a lot of negative things about plastic, but that was a really new one for me.

So I Googled “cat acne plastic,” and guess what: it’s conventional wisdom (although I haven’t found a definitive source) that cats can develop acne on their chins from eating out of plastic bowls. (Dogs, too! Google “dog acne plastic.”)

Dirty Plastic Bowls

According to The Spruce:

Plastic food dishes have long been suspected as a culprit in chin acne. Plastic is a magnet for bacteria and dirt that work their way into scratches and… Read the rest

October 10, 2010

SunChips Discontinues Compostable Bag. Do We Care?

Today is 10/10/10, Climate Action Day. It’s also the week that Pepsico discontinued its new compostable SunChips snack bags due to complaints that the bags are too noisy. (See my comparison video below.) So what do global climate change and compostable snack bags have to do with each other? Well, I’ll admit it’s a stretch, but read on and I’ll explain how I think they’re connected and also why I haven’t written about the new bags until now.

The SunChips Compostable Bag Story

Last year, Pepsico announced it would be selling its SunChips snack food in compostable bags made from PLA (polylactic acid), which is a polymer made from plants rather than petroleum. The PLA used in the SunChips bags comes from corn and reportedly, it would compost in both commercial compost facilities and backyard compost heaps. That’s good news for snack food junkies, right? No more plastic bags to last in the landfill for a thousand… Read the rest

October 6, 2010

Dry Summer Produce to Keep Through Winter Plastic-Free

I often get questions about how to store summer produce in the freezer without zip lock bags. People who are trying to eat locally or who have big gardens want to be able to enjoy summer and fall fruits and vegetables through the winter without plastic. I personally use glass mason jars and airtight stainless steel containers in the freezer. But Jean Nick, who writes the Nickel Pincher column (“eco-advice — that’s ‘eco’ for eco-logical and eco-nomical”) every Thursday on has a different idea, which she offered to share with Fake Plastic Fish readers.

The following is a guest post from Jean. At the end of this post are photos of my own attempt this weekend to take some of her advice, with interesting results.

Drying Produce

Drying food is the oldest, simplest, and greenest way to preserve the extra bounty from your garden or your local farmers’ market. And if you make your own it can also-be plastic-free… Read the rest

October 3, 2010

Faces of My Comfort Food

Pot roast and pork chops and fried chicken aren’t so very comforting after you stare into the eyes of the animal. I didn’t need to visit the Farm Sanctuary to realize I had to stop eating animals; I gave up meat after reading a book. But being with the animals — touching them, smelling them, nuzzling into their fur — reinforced just why it is I can’t consider them food anymore.

The thing is, I think I’m grieving a little bit. Grieving the foods that used to bring me such pleasure and also grieving the animals that suffered for that pleasure. But their faces are so beautiful that I mostly just feel joy to live on this planet with so many different kinds of beings. Here are a few that I and my blogger friend Heather Clisby visited at the Farm Sanctuary in Orland, CA last month.

Discomfort Food

This is pot roast, an all-time favorite food since childhood. We used to call it “stringy meat” and always had it with… Read the rest