The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: Direct Action

November 15, 2011

Speaking Out For Tougher Plastic Bag Laws

Yesterday morning, I showed up at San Francisco City Hall to testify in favor of broadening the City’s plastic bag ban and discovered that no matter how many times I speak in public, I still get nervous every single time! But sitting in the audience with Eli Saddler from Ocean Health, and looking around at all my other friends from the environmental community (Save the Bay, SF Surfrider, and others) I knew that the butterflies in my tummy didn’t matter. I was prepared with incriminating photographs (see below) and supported by a lot of other committed activists.

Here’s the scoop: Back in 2007, San Francisco passed legislation banning plastic bags from large grocery stores and pharmacy chains. They had initially wanted to charge a fee for them but were stymied by the plastic bag lobby on the state level and had to resort to an outright ban. According to the Department of Environment, that ban resulted in an 18% reduction in plastic… Read the rest

April 15, 2011

Initiative: Getting Restaurants to Stop Giving Out Plastic Straws Automatically

GlassDharma reusable glass drinking straw

Wouldn’t it be nice if restaurant servers asked if you wanted a straw before sticking one in your drink automatically? Right now, it’s up to us to refuse those straws ahead of time.  And sometimes, we have to ask more than once for our request to be remembered and fulfilled. That’s one of the reasons I carry a Glass Dharma glass drinking straw with me wherever I go.  Whipping out my straw is a memorable way to get the server’s attention and sometimes to start a conversation about the environmental impact of plastic.  I also have sensitive teeth, so drinking cold beverages through a straw is just easier.  Some of you have mentioned that you don’t need any straw at all.  So let’s tell restaurants to quit giving them to us!

Take Action

1) Choose your restaurant(s) to write to.  Any restaurant. Preferably one(s) you frequent and that you have noticed gives out unwrapped straws automatically.

2) Write a snail mail letter. … 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 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.

UGLY TRUTH

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

August 4, 2010

Ellen DeGeneres Please Stop Promoting Bottled Water!

I love Ellen, but I want her to dump her bottled water advertising contracts. Please join the new Facebook Group (appropriately named Tell Ellen Degeneres To Dump Bottled Water Advertising!) created by Julie Borst of PlasticlessNYC and tell Ellen that bottled water sucks.  Then, ask all your friends to join the group.

In addition to joining the group, check out Juli’s list of ways to contact Ellen and make your voice heard.

Ellen is not the first celeb to promote bottled water. Jennifer Aniston’s been doing it for years. The Filtered Files, the blog from the air and water filter company Filter Fast, has a list of other celebs with bottled water contracts. But Ellen’s support of Vitaminwater Zero is particularly disappointing to me because of her pro-environment, pro-animal lifestyle.

In fact, Ellen’s reasons for going vegan are the same reasons she should shun bottled water:

1) Living a Cruelty-free Lifestyle

Eating… 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.  (http://facebook.com/UselessPlasticCrap)

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 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

May 28, 2010

Could California be the First State to Ban Plastic Bags?

11/09/2016 Update: Six years after this post was written, California has FINALLY banned plastic bags across the state!

I’m pissed off. I live in a city, like many others in California, that wants to ban plastic shopping bags, but we can’t. Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and other California cities are under attack by the plastics industry. None of these cities has been able to put their plastic bag bans into effect because of industry deep pockets that have successfully sued to require each city to conduct an environmental impact report (EIR) showing that banning plastic bags would not have a detrimental impact.

Our cities cannot afford to spend $150,000 to $200,000 each to conduct EIRs. That’s why nothing has come of Oakland’s bag ban or any of the others. My city can’t afford to keep enough cops on the streets (just ask Michael, who got mugged several months ago right across from our house),… Read the rest

March 10, 2010

It’s About Community: A Conversation with Annie Leonard

Do you know your neighbors? Annie Leonard, creator of the viral video The Story of Stuff thinks you should. In fact, she thinks it’s the number one thing we can do to take back our power as citizens and solve our environmental problems.  In this interview, she explains why, and insists that all of us need to be comfortable with speaking up and letting our voices be heard.

I sat down with Annie in her office in Berkeley two weeks ago, just before the launch of her new book, appropriately titled, The Story of Stuff for a conversation with the woman who has inspired millions around the globe.  If you happen not to be one of those millions because you haven’t yet seen the video, please take twenty minutes out of your day to watch it.   Annie is intense, engaging, and explains where all our “stuff” comes from and how it affects us in a way that powerful in its simplicity.

Some analysts say we have less leisure time than any time since feudal… Read the rest

February 22, 2010

Dear Valley Yellow Pages. Sorry I Was Mean.

OMG.  You won’t believe what happened Friday.  I still don’t believe it myself.  Here’s the story.

After hassling with Valley Yellow Pages (not to be confused with AT&T Yellow Pages) last year to be taken off their automatic delivery list, I was finally assured that I would no longer receive their unwanted plastic-bagged phone books.  So you can imagine how irritated I was when a new one showed up on my doorstep last week.

Immediately, I sent the following caustic email.  I was irritated and probably hormonal.  I usually prefer to catch my flies with sugar, despite being a mosquito in their bedrooms. But hey, no one’s perfect.… Read the rest