The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: Consumerism

January 11, 2016

Buying Nothing New in 2016

I’m not going to buy anything new this year.  Except food.  And soap.  And toilet paper.  Recycled toilet paper.  Okay, let me start over.  I’m not going to buy any new, non-consumable things.  Except I already have.  Yesterday.  So, what’s all this about?

After spending the last eight years of my life avoiding new plastic (plastic products and plastic packaging), I suddenly found myself in 2015 obsessed with not only avoiding new plastic but also replacing the minute amount of existing plastic in my house with brand new, mostly expensive, plastic-free products, which is exactly what I had decided NOT to do when I started this project.  Off the top of my head, these are some things I replaced this year:

Plastic drain board replaced with this heavy, Amish-made stainless steel drain board. Garlic press with plastic-coated grips replaced with an all stainless Rosle garlic press. Vegetable… Read the rest
October 5, 2013

What Do You Think of Rewards Programs? Are Some Better Than Others?

I just watched Annie Leonard’s Latest Video from The Story of Stuff Project: The Story of Solutions.  And I have a few thoughts that might not be entirely popular.  Here’s the video: http://act.storyofstuff.org/page/s/growing-solutions

In it, Annie argues that not all “solutions” to our environmental and social problems are created equal. Some solutions simply promote the status quo, while others are “game changers.” And I’m excited to see that she has decided to use plastic pollution solutions as an example.  According to The Story of Solutions:

Plastic Bag Ban = Game Changing Solution

Plastic Recycling Incentive (such as gift cards for putting stuff in your recycle bin) = Status Quo

You’ll have to watch the video to understand her reasons for classifying these two kinds of “solutions” this way. But I’d just like to offer my take on incentive programs:… Read the rest

March 16, 2012

Dear CREDO Mobile, I like your packaging, but please fix my phone — or let me do it.

It’s frustrating when electronic gadgets break, and not just because you have to go through the hassle of fixing or replacing them but because in doing so, a lot of waste is created. So when the headphone jack on my phone stopped working intermittently, I put off doing anything about it for several months. But finally, it got so bad that I could no longer use my headset, which meant an extra dose of radiation from putting my phone right against my head to talk (and of course, also not being able to listen to music and podcasts, but that’s a personal problem), so I decided it was time to do something about it.

I called CREDO Mobile, my phone provider, and was told I’d have to send it back to them for a replacement phone. I wondered if I should scout around for someone to open it up and try to fix it for me (as I did with my hair dryer, rice cooker, kitchen scale, and other appliances, with varying degrees of success), but when CREDO told me that opening… Read the rest

August 25, 2010

Say No To Singles

My vision of a plastic-free, zero-waste world is not a singles club.  No, I’m not discriminating against uncoupled people.  But I am a bigot when it comes to the three categories of Singles products, all of which have been featured on the new Facebook Plastic Crap Wall of Shame lately.  The first two, I’ve written about extensively, and the third might surprise you.

1) Single-use Disposables

Think plastic drink cups and cup lids, plastic food containers, plastic straws, plastic packing materials and blister packs and clamshells.  Or other ridiculous disposable items, like plastic bags for umbrellas (Can you say “mold?”)

Photo by Jennifer Lawlor.

or hefty bags for shoes.

These are items that are used once and thrown away, or recycled in rare cases.

Several zero-waste bloggers have campaigns to reduce our consumption of single-use disposables. Lisa Borden’s Take Out Without Campaign urges… Read the rest

July 27, 2010

More Plastic Crap, brought to you by SkyMall

Do you flip through the SkyMall Catalog when you fly? Isn’t it great? In addition to adding greenhouse gases directly to the atmosphere from the flight itself, we can also shop our way to global warming. (And yes, I feel guilty every time I get on an airplane.)

Here are a few of the SkyMall gems I spotted during my recent trip…

A plastic cat litter box in the shape of a plant pot, complete with plastic plant:

This isn’t just tacky, it’s not even functional.  First of all, if you turn it to the wall to hide it from guests (as in the inset), how is your cat supposed to use it? And can you imagine sticking your head in there to clean it out? Who would let their cat track litter through the living room? The sad thing is that people might buy it thinking it’s a cute idea and then trash it when they discover it’s not. Just more plastic in the landfill.

Here’s a fake plastic Sumo Wrestler statue for your yard:

And if having the statue… 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.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqMRead the rest

June 13, 2008

Activism, Religion, and Despair – What Would Jesus Buy?

Last weekend I finally saw the documentary What Would Jesus Buy? on DVD. It follows the crusade of “Reverend Billy” and the “Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir” during this past Christmas season as they traveled cross country spreading a message of anti-commercialism, support for local businesses, and hairspray. Well, the hairspray was more method than message, but I digress.

Say what you want about environmentalists taking on the language of the Church to make their points, (and by the way, there’s been quite a bit of debate about that very issue this week on the Green Bean Dreams and TallgrassWorship blogs) Reverend Billy’s evangelical escapades, offensive or not, grab attention and draw converts to the cause. He exorcises shopping demons from Wal-mart and Disneyland. He gets himself banned for life from Starbucks. He’s been arrested more times than his wife Savitri can count.

But flamboyant… Read the rest