The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: Interviews and Guest Posts

March 29, 2012

How to Make a Cat Climbing Tree Without Buying Any New Plastic Materials

Several months ago, blogger EcoCatLady left a comment on this blog about how she had avoided buying new plastic when her kitties needed a climbing tree by figuring out how to build one herself with all secondhand materials. She wrote:

My most recent success was that I wanted to get my kids (meaning kids of the feline variety) a scratching/climbing kitty tree for Christmas. I initially was going to buy one, and I found them online pretty cheap… but the more I researched, the more I discovered that anything which cost under $400 was made from plastic PVC pipe. So instead of bringing more plastic crap into the world, I made a kitty tree from scrap lumber I had in my garage and some carpet scraps that I got on FreeCycle. I know in the broad scheme of things it’s not much, but it’s something… and something I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about before reading Beth’s blog.

Being the mom of a couple of fun-deprived kitty… Read the rest

January 19, 2012

Homemade Plastic-free Vegetable Broth from The Plastic-free Chef

The following is a guest post from 17-year old Mary Katherine from Mountain View, CA who has been participating in the Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge since October of last year and has done an incredible job reducing her plastic waste.  See her trash challenge posts here.  Recently, she started her own blog called The Plastic-free Chef to share her strategies for cooking with less plastic.  

My name is Mary Katherine and I’m 17. I love to cook. I love everything about it (except cleaning). I do most of the cooking in my house. My quest to banish disposable plastic from my life began in August in the toilet paper aisle of Safeway. My mum was going on about the wastefulness of the plastic wrap around the toilet paper. Something just changed all of a sudden for me. My mum always talked about plastic packaging, but we didn’t really do anything. Truth be told, I was apathetic and ignorant of the problem. Sure, we brought reusable bags to the store… Read the rest

May 13, 2011

Is It Plastic?

My friend Ruchi is full of questions.  The following is a guest post from her with answers from me.

So many dilemmas

When the Artist Formerly Known as Fake Plastic Fish emailed around asking if people would be willing to contribute a guest post, I was … flummoxed. See, I really wanted to help out. I did. But I had a problem. Anything and everything I know about plastic, avoiding plastic, wasting less plastic, etc, comes from … none other than Beth Terry, plastic-avoider extraordinaire. I mean, I COULD write some post about giving up zip-locs or not wasting plastic produce bags, or some such. But I’ve DONE that. The Artist Formerly Known as Fake Plastic Fish has DONE that. A gazillion times.

I have a lot of plastic problems. Now that I compost, it’s crystal clear just how much plastic I use (because that’s the majority of my trash.) And while it may not be as much as the average American (at least I hope it isn’t), it’s… 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

December 1, 2010

Letter from Will Terry, a “normal guy and not some tree-hugging freak”

Last Friday night, my brother Will and I were hanging out on the phone discussing our book-writing aspirations: his dream of writing children’s books (He’s already a fantastic illustrator of books that other people write.  See the end of this post for an amazing demo) and mine of creating a plastic-free book to inspire or at least entertain the masses.

Will’s not a treehugger, but unable to avoid my plastic-free influence, he wants to help me figure out the best way to speak to a wider audience of people — people like him who care, but maybe not yet enough to act.  So he wrote the following letter to you guys.  Overlooking spelling, punctuation, and the fact that he was most likely drunk on half-cooked brownie mix when he composed it, what do you suggest?

Dear Fake Plastic Fish readers:

I was thinking about plastic the other day partly because I had run out of things to think about but also because my big (big as in older not heavier,… 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 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 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

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