01/29/2013 Update: Richard Branson responds to my letter on his blog today: Plastic On Our Airlines.
Dear Richard Branson & David Cush,
This letter serves two purposes. First, to express my sincere gratitude for all you have done to make Virgin America the only airline I can fly without crying the whole time, and second, to ask you to address the issue of plastics on your flights. First, the good stuff.
I’m a nervous flyer. On takeoff, I’ve been known to cut off the circulation in my partner’s hand from gripping it so tightly. And years ago, I had flight attendants offering me free alcohol even before the plane took off (and even though I was sitting in coach) just to calm me down. But nowadays, after a little hypnotherapy and the advent of Virgin America, I actually enjoy flying. Which is fortunate, because after the release of my book last year, I’ve found myself sitting on planes probably more often than … Read the rest
When I first heard about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the sales of sugary drinks over 16oz from restaurants, delis, movie theaters, street carts and sports venues, I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. The issue was interesting, but I don’t drink sugary soda and I don’t live in New York, so I kind of didn’t pay attention, until one of my blogger friends brought up the issue in a green chat group.
Are Sugary Beverages the Same as Plastic Bags?
Blogger Karen Lee wondered how banning large sugary drinks was any different from banning plastic bags. We all seemed to agree that plastic bags cause environmental harm that affects us all–especially animals that have no say in the matter–and that people should not be free to pollute. But aren’t diseases related to obesity also an environmental issue that ultimately raises healthcare costs for all of us? Maybe so. But who says sugary… Read the rest
Pepsi’s new soda bottle is different.
Last month, PepsiCo made a big announcement: it had developed the world’s first entirely plant-based PET beverage bottle. And although the new bottle is made from plants, it’s actually less like those corn-based compostable bottles you may have heard about and more like regular, ordinary PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic, the kind of plastic nearly all single-use beverage bottles are made from.
I’ll explain all about the new bottle, why it’s interesting, and what I see are its pros and cons. But first, I need to tell you about how I went a little nutty on Twitter the night after the story was published. See, normally I’d have taken the story in stride, looked into the bottle on my own time, and decided if it was worth writing about. But that night, I started seeing all these excited tweets about PepsiCo’s new “plastic-free” bottle.
Plastic-free?… Read the rest
While I love my boyfriend Isaiah Mustafa’s hot and funny Old Spice commercial, I do not love the product he is selling: Old Spice Scented Body Wash.
But according to a recent NPR story on men switching to bath gels, more and more men seem to think that body wash gels work better than bar soap. As a woman, I find bar soap to work fine, if not better than bodywash. So why the sudden unfortunate switch among men?
Why unfortunate? Because first of all, the ingredients suck:
WATER, SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE, SODIUM SULFATE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, FRAGRANCE, SODIUM LAUROAMPHOACETATE, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM BENZOATE, POLYQUATERNIUM-10, DISODIUM EDTA, METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, COLORANTS
The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database gives the product a score of 5: Moderate Hazard.
And second, of course, is the plastic bottle. The NPR story ends with a brief mention of the environmental impact:
Mr. John … Read the rest
Sharing Tim Minchin's Bring Your Canvas Bags video, Werner Herzog's Life of a Plastic Bag video, and Annie Leonard's The Story of Bottled Water.
Most of us know and are concerned about avoiding the “bad” plastics. Especially when it comes to our food. Polycarbonate, PVC, Polystyrene. But until recently, many people have considered PET, Polyethylene Terephthalate (#1 plastic, the type of plastic that water and juice bottles are made from) to be safe. And while there have been studies suggesting that the chemical antimony can leach from disposable water bottles, especially when exposed to sunlight, heat, and rough treatment, no one had studied other beverages.
Antimony Found In 16 Popular Brands of Fruit Juice
According to a statement released on March 1 from the Royal Society of Chemistry, 42 different juices were tested across 16 brands, and found concentrations of antimony up to a factor of 2.7 above the EU limit for drinking water. Scientist Claus Hansen speculates that the citric acid in these drinks could act as an extractant, causing more leaching from fruit… Read the rest
Filling up your bottle from the kitchen sink is easy. But how about when you’re out in the world and need a drink? With water fountains disappearing and restaurants reluctant to fill bottles without a purchase, it’s sometimes frustrating to find drinking water for free.
Enter a couple of web sites that can help.
TapIt was begun in New York City and is spreading across the U.S., now with locations in the Bay Area. Partner eating establishments commit to providing water to us in our reusable bottles at no charge.
If you have an iPhone, you can download the TapIt app. If you have a SmartPhone, you can simply browse to tapitwater.com and you’ll be directed right to the search page. I tried it on my Moto Q9c. It works.
If you don’t have one of these fancy Internet-capable phones, check the web site before leaving the house to find out where the TapIt partners are in your destination. And don’t forget your bottle.
While there are… Read the rest
Jackson Browne doesn’t appreciate the bottled water industry pumping millions of dollars into advertising to convince us that bottled water is better than tap water. He also happened to be sitting right behind me during the screening of Tapped Friday night at UCLA, one of the events organized by the new Plastic Pollution Coalition this weekend. So after the film, I asked if he would mind saying a few words to Fake Plastic Fish readers about his stand on bottled water. He said he could only give me a minute, but as you’ll see in the video, once he got started, his passion kicked in and he gave a lot more.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uD5gZ7yBZc
For those who are unable to hear the video, here’s a summary of his main points:
Tap water is more highly regulated than bottled water.
Often, bottled water is just tap water that bottlers extract, bottle, and sell back to us at an exhorbitant price.
Jackson carries his own metal… Read the rest
I just finished watching the new documentary, Tapped, a polemic against the bottled water industry. As regular Fake Plastic Fish readers know, I’ve written extensively against bottled water myself, providing a multitude of reasons to avoid the stuff: Bottled water is not as strongly regulated as tap water; it requires more energy to bottle and ship than tap water; it negatively impacts local community water supplies; it turns over control of a public trust to private companies; and of course, the plastic bottle lasts in the environment virtually forever.
Tapped covers all of these points and even some that were new to me. View the trailer:
The film begins with the statement,
By the year 2030, two-thirds of the world will be lacking access to clean drinking water. This is a problem every single person will be dealing with regardless of where they live in the world.
Many of us think that taking shorter showers and neglecting our lawns will… Read the rest
For Immediate Release
Costumed Crusaders Ask Bay to Breakers Runners to BYOB – Bring Your Own Bottle for Water, That Is.
Anti-plastic environmentalists to promote reducing and recycling plastic during B2B 2009
Beth Terry, Fake Plastic Fish, beth[at]fakeplasticfish[dot]com
Eli Saddler, OceanHealth.Org, eli[at]oceanhealth[dot]org
San Francisco, CA — May 17, 2009 – Bay to Breakers hosts the “world’s largest footrace” annually with as many as 100,000 runners and can generate vast amounts of plastic pollution that harms our oceans. During the event, many participants opt for bottled water in single-use plastic containers instead of bringing their own reusable water bottles. This year, anti-plastic environmentalists are attending Bay to Breakers as costumed crusaders to remind participants to bring their own reusable water bottles and bags to the event rather than using single-use… Read the rest