The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: Show Us Your Plastic Trash

December 19, 2011

Michelle has refused over 10,000 plastic items! How many have you refused?

A few weeks ago, reader Kay Pere left the following comment on Facebook:

Beth: I’ve received your “Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge” update emails for a while now. I was hoping it would be encouraging to see so many other people working to reduce their plastic waste. Instead, it’s making me feel vaguely discouraged knowing that even after weeks and weeks of effort so many are still taking pictures PILES of wrappers, tubs, bottles, taps, bags, etc … How do you deal with this and keep your chin up? Just by knowing that it’s better than it would have been?

I agree that seeing how much plastic waste people still end up with while doing their best can be disheartening. But what the Show Your Plastic photos don’t show is how much plastic these guys have actually REFUSED while doing the challenge. One participant, Michelle Cassar from Portugal, sent me a list of all the plastic items she has refused in the past few… Read the rest

January 18, 2011

Is It Possible to Reduce Home Care Plastic Waste?

I’ve been with my family in Maryland since Thursday.  It was meant to be a happy trip to celebrate my and my mom’s birthdays, but in the last two weeks, my mom’s Alzheimer’s disease has progressed to the point that she can no longer even speak to us.  We can’t tell if she knows who we are anymore.  My heart is breaking, and all I know is that I want to be near her as much as I can this year.

Mostly my attitude this weekend’s been “screw the plastic.”  Not for myself.  I’m still refusing single use disposables for me.  But when it comes to all the plastic necessary to take care of my mom (disposable diapers, wipes, medicine bottles, pads, creams, gloves, etc), I just can’t go there.  It just doesn’t seem important in the scheme of things.

But then again, what if everyone with a sick loved one felt that way?  Mountains of plastic trash are generated in home care, and those mountains are only… Read the rest

December 28, 2010

Collect Your Plastic. Change Your Life.

Danielle Richardet is a Fake Plastic Fish reader and writer of the blog It Starts With Me, on which she chronicles her project cleaning up the beach near her home in North Carolina.  A couple of months ago, she and her family took the Fake Plastic Fish Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge, and took their weekly household plastic waste from this:

to this:

Doing the challenge, spreading out her plastic and really seeing it helped Danielle figure out what changes she needed to make in her life. I asked her to tell her story here. Of course, I’m hoping to inspire you to do it too. A 2011 Resolution? Here’s Danielle in her own words…

I made my first plastic-free change back in 2005 way before I knew anything about plastics. The first plastic product that I “gave up” was boxed cake mixes… and I certainly didn’t do it because it was in plastic. Nope… I stopped buying boxed cake mixes because I disagreed with all of … Read the rest

June 4, 2010

First Graders Learning to Say No to Plastic Trash

Julia Smith’s first grade class at Rooftop Alternative School, perched high up in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks area, is different from most, and Julia Smith is a special kind of teacher.

For example, in an effort to teach the children how to choose plastic-free grocery options, she actually took them on a field trip to Whole Foods to learn how to bring their own bags and containers to shop from bulk bins.  After a lesson about the problems of ocean plastic pollution, the class participated in the Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge to collect and tally their classroom-generated plastic waste for a week.

Check the Challenge site to see the full results from their week of plastic collecting and read more about what they learned. Last week, I visited the classroom to pick up the plastic they had collected and chat with the kids about the plastic I had found on the beach and find out what they had decided to do about their classroom waste.

Several of… Read the rest

September 29, 2009

All New Updated Plastic Challenge Web Site!

If you haven’t taken the Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge yet, now is the time. The women from See Jane Do are up for it and would love some company!

See Jane Do is an inspirational multi-media project (web, radio, and now print) that seeks to highlight the successes of “ordinary women doing extraordinary things.” I was thrilled to be included in that list and have See Jane Do’s Elisa Parker come visit me, check out my plastic-free progress, and conduct an interview which will be broadcast on KVMR Wed.Oct. 7th from 1-2pm PST. You can listen online as well.

Well, I don’t know how extraordinary it is to collect your plastic trash for several years, or to create a web site about it. I’m just doing what I love. And in that spirit, I stayed up all night last night re-creating the Show Us Your Plastic Trash Challenge web site in WordPress and making it beautiful in the hopes that more people will be inspired to join in. … Read the rest

August 11, 2009

Let’s Talk Diets and Why Guilt Doesn’t Work.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Diets don’t work.” When it comes to lasting lifestyle changes, radical crash diets certainly don’t work. And I’m not just talking about food. Writers who decide to give up all plastic in one week are not likely to succeed in creating long-term sustainable changes either. But there’s another element that can undermine our efforts at changing ourselves and the world: GUILT.

When I asked Fake Plastic Fish readers to take the Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge, I emphasized several times that guilt is not necessary or even helpful. Did I say this to make you guys feel better so that you’d participate in my little challenge? No way. And I hope those who took the challenge (and those who will take it in the future [have you done it yet?]) will come to understand what I have: that guilt gets in the way of seeing the truth.

I’m currently in the middle of reading … Read the rest

June 2, 2009

Update – Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge

As I mentioned yesterday, many of you have taken the challenge… so many in fact that I felt a separate sub-blog was in order to collect all the tallies. And so (drum roll please) I hereby announce the inauguration of the

Here is a recap of the challenge rules as well as two ways to post your photos and tallies to the blog. It’s not too late to join the fun or just leave comments for the other participants with your ideas, suggestions, or bursts of inspiration. I’m sure those who have posted already would love some support.


1) Collect all of your own plastic waste, both recyclable and non, for a minimum of one week. If you want to go for more than one week, great! Just keep each week’s collection separate.

2) What qualifies as yours? Anything that benefits you. So, if your housemate or significant other brings home a tub of yogurt that you both share, the tub goes in your tally. But if you hate yogurt, never touch the stuff, and … Read the rest

May 12, 2009

Challenge – Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash!

Beth throws down the gauntlet, upon which Soots proceeds to gnaw. Nom nom nom! It is plastic, after all. Yummy!

So as you all know, I’ve been collecting and tallying my own plastic trash for almost two years. The experience has been educational for me, and I hope, for readers of this blog. I’ll keep doing it. But now it’s your turn.


1) Collect all of your own plastic waste for a minimum of one week. (Longer is okay, too, but try to separate out the weeks’ collections.) What qualifies as yours? Anything that benefits you. So, if your housemate or significant other brings home a tub of yogurt that you both share, the tub goes in your tally. But if you hate yogurt, never touch the stuff, and wouldn’t have bought it for yourself in a million years, it’s not your responsibility. What about stuff for your kids? I’ll leave that up to you. Whatever you decide, just be consistent about collecting it. Personally,… Read the rest