The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: May 2012

May 31, 2012

Pitch Me Your Green Product, but Skip the Greenwash. Here’s How.

My email in-box is forever filling up with product pitches from various PR reps who want me to review their latest offerings on this blog.   While I love reviewing things like plastic-free chewing gum, plastic-free lip balm, or compostable cleaning cloths, more often than not, the pitches I receive are either irrelevant to my topic–I’m not going to review an organic shampoo in a plastic bottle, even if the producer hand-picked the ingredients from her own backyard herb garden and reduced her carbon footprint by mixing them up using a pedal-powered generator–or don’t contain enough information to capture my interest.  Several years ago, I wrote up a detailed Advertising/Review policy, but it doesn’t seem to help much.  And in conversations (read: rants) among other green bloggers, I’ve discovered I’m not alone.  So I decided to write a letter to “green” companies to let them… Read the rest

May 29, 2012

Use a Straight Razor to Manscape Without Plastic

Ever considered trying a straight razor? Chris Reeves did and lived to send me an email about the experience. Chris is the visitor programs manager for the Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz, California.  In his free time he gives talks about plastic pollution in the environment and will be holding a training for other folks to do the same.  Chris says he’s also “a Gemini who likes long walks on the beach picking up trash and talking to kids about weird dead stuff.” He’s funny.  Here’s the email he sent me.

Hi Beth,

I hope this is helpful for some of your male readers.

Last week I was getting down to my last disposable razor cartridge, I had a few bucks I could spend, and I decided to stop stewing about cutting out this one futile use of plastic from my life. It seems ridiculous to be using a material that will last in the environment forever simply to remove stuff from my face that is just going to grow back in a week.… Read the rest

May 25, 2012

Funny Friday Post: Secrets of Celebrities

My friend Axelle, super minimalist and organizer extraordinaire, sent me an email a few days ago that was so funny I would have snorted milk out my nose if I’d been drinking milk in the first place.  Axelle doesn’t have a blog–or, she does, but she hasn’t written anything in it since 2010.  So I asked if I could share it here, since  it’s related to my favorite way to reduce plastic use:  reducing consumption of everything.  

Please enjoy.

Secrets of Celebrities

by Axelle Fortier


How do Bill and Melinda Gates, two busy bees, keep overwhelm from knocking at their kitchen door?

How do Brad ‘n’ Angie keep it together with their 6 or 7 kids and the dish washing that’s generated by this big, happy family?

How do Donald Trump and the missus maintain their serene bedroom closet and kitchen home-style?

The Obamas:  What’s the secret to their success in keeping a tidy White House?

“Two… Read the rest

May 24, 2012

Kicking the Plastic Addiction Video Promo

I’ve gone commercial!  Well, no I didn’t. But I did make a commercial. Okay, not exactly. Filmmaker Alec Bernal just finished making me an awesome YouTube video promo for my book Plastic-Free. All I did was show up… and bring along the plastic sea monster.  Check out the transformation…


Feel free to share this video and embed on your own website if you want to.

Happy Thursday!… Read the rest

May 22, 2012

Plastic-Eating Fungi: Environmental Salvation or Distraction?

Recently, several readers, including my dad, have forwarded me articles about a group of Yale students who discovered an Amazonian fungus (pestalotiopsis microspora) that can not only eat polyurethane plastic, but can actually survive on it as its sole source of carbon. Could a fungus be the solution to our plastic pollution problem? And what does it mean in terms of the kinds of plastics we see littered every day?

Let’s stop and think it through.

There are many different types of plastic polymers. In general, single-use disposable products, the kind that make up the bulk of municipal plastic waste, are made from polyethylene terephthalate, high and low density polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, or polystyrene. Not polyurethane. Polyurethane is used as foam for furniture cushions, car seats, and mattresses; garden hoses; footwear; liquid varnishes;  and a whole host of other durable products–not the kind… Read the rest

May 18, 2012

Compost this Book. But first, check out how cool it is!

I am so full of excitement right now I could burst.  I just received the first case of my new book:  Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, and I feel like a proud mama right now.  A few nights ago, I had a dream that the book arrived and the pages were made out of plastic.  I couldn’t believe it.  So I called my editor and asked how that could have happened in a plastic-free book, and he said, “It’s not plastic; it’s nylon.”  And I was all, “What?  Didn’t you even read my book?  Nylon is plastic!”  And then I woke up and it wasn’t true.  Still, I have been wondering and worrying.  One commenter on Facebook wrote, “I’m assuming your publisher checked ‘no’ on the plastic shrinkwrap option on the book’s print bid…” and that started me fretting all over again.  What if there was some accident or oversight and the books… Read the rest

May 16, 2012

Peppersmith Makes Chewing Gum WITH Plastic

November 2014 Update: Unfortunately, Peppersmith has decided to start adding plastic to its gum base, so I can no longer recommend it. Fortunately, there’s Simply Gum, which is still completely plastic-free, and Glee Gum, which has recently reformulated its gum base to be plastic-free. I am leaving this post up for historical archive purposes (with verbs changed to past tense so Google doesn’t get confused), but I have removed all of the links to Peppersmith except for their explanation of the change, if you want to read about it and respond.

Here’s what I originally wrote in May 2012:

Most chewing gum is made from plastic.  Don’t believe me?  Read the details in my 2010 post “Chewing on Plastic? Yum.”  The few brands that seem not to contain plastic often come packaged in a plastic bottle or plastic blister pack.  Thankfully, I’m not much of a gum chewer.  But I know plenty of people who are (including… Read the rest

May 11, 2012

Don’t Be Fooled by Reusable Bag Norovirus Scare

It’s been all over the news for the past two days:  Six Oregon girls, travelling to an out of town soccer tournament in Seattle, all got sick with norovirus after passing around cookies in a reusable bag.  Scientists from the Oregon Public Health department did some sleuthing and traced the virus to the reusable bag.  (Read the full story..)  So, does that mean that reusable bags are dangerous?  The disposable bag industry would like you to think so.  Hilex Poly, the plastic bag manufacturer that mislead consumers about plastic bag recycling rates in December, sent out this gem to its subscribers yesterday:

Hilex Poly wants you to believe that reusable bags are dangerous because they can carry viruses.  But let’s look at the actual facts of the case before jumping to that conclusion.

1)  The first girl who came down with norovirus had not touched the reusable bag when she got sick.  In fact, no one knows how she contracted the… Read the rest

May 10, 2012

What Can Environmentalists Learn from Bad Kitties?

I’m back from my meditation retreat, where one of the common admonishments is “Don’t push the river.”  What does that mean?  To me, it’s about being in the flow and not exerting more effort than necessary to live peacefully and mindfully in the present moment.  After all, the river’s gonna flow whether you push it or not, right?  Recently, I’ve discovered that it’s often not necessary to dam the river either.  I’ve learned both of these lessons from my cat.  And now I’m wondering how we can apply them to environmental activism work.

Bad Kitty / Good Kitty

Arya is sweet and cuddly and naughty beyond belief.  I love her mightily, and until recently, have fought with her every single morning for the past two years.  She climbs on my desk, and I shoo her off.  She crawls under my desk and gets tangled up in the electrical cords, so I shoo her out.  Then she’s up on the desk again,… Read the rest

May 4, 2012

Plastic-Free Progress Report: Sarah Schmiechen

Sarah Schmiechen is a long-time reader of this blog and prior participant in the Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge.  She emailed me recently to let me know about some of the successes and challenges she’s had in reducing her plastic consumption, and she suggested that it might be useful/helpful for me to post profiles of readers and the changes they’ve made in getting plastic out of their lives as well as the difficulties they still face.  I thought that was a fabulous idea and asked Sarah if she would like to be the first.  Sarah was up for it, so the following is her post.  I have added my own comments at the bottom with a few suggestions, but I’m sure you guys will have a lot more for her.

Recently, I was at an out of town family wedding catching up with my cousin April. We were chatting about blogs we read, and The Compact, and I mentioned My Plastic-free Life and how I’d won the Show Your Plastic Challenge.  April asked me what … Read the rest