The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: cutlery & containers

February 4, 2011

Plastic-free Drinking Straws: Paper, Glass, & Stainless Steel

Aardvark paper drinking straw

Plastic drinking straws are a problem.  Fortunately, from reusable straws made from glass or stainless steel to disposable straws made from paper, there are plastic-free straw options for those who want to avoid plastic straws but are not willing to give up straws entirely.

Paper Drinking Straws

While on my trip this week, I visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom and discovered paper straws. Yep. Disney offers guests Aardvark paper straws at its Animal Kingdom park to protect the animals from ingesting plastic straws that, despite the Disney staff’s best efforts, might escape into the environment.  (Unfortunately, Disney uses plastic straws in its other parks.)

These paper straws are not the flimsy things we had in elementary school back in the day. They are sturdy and hold up until your drink is finished.

According to Aardvark’s website, the straws are made from “a thick paper, then coated to protect them from liquid.”… Read the rest

January 12, 2011

Klean Kanteen introduces new Reflect plastic-free bamboo stainless steel water bottle

Until now, all Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles came with plastic caps: either 100% plastic or stainless with a hard plastic top. But I’m happy to let you know about the new Reflect bottle, which is completely plastic-free.

Two years ago, shopping with my friend Ruchi for a new Klean Kanteen to replace the one that was stolen from her, we discovered that the bottles automatically came with a 100% plastic cap and that if you wanted the partially stainless steel cap, you had to buy it separately and end up with two caps. I ranted about the plastic cap policy and wrote a letter to Klean Kanteen requesting they give customers a choice from the start.

This past November, I met up with Scott and Jeff from Klean Kanteen at the TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch event in L.A. and learned that they have gone even further than merely offering the choice of more plastic or less plastic. Now, you can choose a bottle that is 100% plastic-free and paint-free… Read the rest

August 30, 2010

Back to School Vinyl and Styrofoam. Sometimes Retro Isn’t Cool.

How often do we hear ourselves bemoaning the plastic world we’ve created and wishing we could go back to the good old days before our disposable culture got the better of us? I was having a few of those thoughts last night when I realized that as far as school lunches are concerned, some things may have gotten worse, but we also have some better options now than those available when I was a kid.

In 1974, way, way, way back in the day, “Back to School” meant I finally got new clothes for the year.  Not that the clothes ever lived up to my fantasy of for once having a wardrobe that would make me popular.  Designer jeans?  Forget it.  My mom didn’t let me wear pants to school until I was in 5th grade.  Every year, my new duds would start out two sizes too big (to grow into) and be two sizes too small before I could have new ones.  “No, I’m not preparing for a flood, you guys.  Leave me alone.”

My younger sisters had… Read the rest

June 16, 2010

In Hell, they drink Le Froglet wine in individual plastic wine glasses

This morning, my friend Jenn sent me an article from the U.K.’s Daily Mail about an exciting new concept in wine: single serving portions in disposable plastic glasses.

It sounds like something from The Onion or Saturday Night Live, but sadly it’s not. Le Froglet’s wine in individual glasses is flying off the shelves at Britain’s Marks & Spencer, which apparently has a whole store section called Food on the Move packed with all kinds of single-serving goodies.

Well, the insanity of producing yet one more single-use disposable product in a time when we are constantly reminded of the dire nature of our environmental situation got me thinking about the one thing EVERYONE could do right now to reduce their consumption, plastic and otherwise:

JUST STOP BUYING SINGLE SERVINGS!

Stop buying single servings of everything. Stop right now. There is no reason that I can think of for anyone to do it. (Okay, I’m sure there… Read the rest

June 11, 2010

Toxic Food Packaging Labels

This post is about toxic adhesives used to apply labels to food packaging and whether or not those chemicals can migrate into our foods. But it’s also a convoluted story about the foul odor emanating from the general direction of my dishwasher.

Stinky Dishwasher Smell

If you’re my Facebook friend, you may be waiting impatiently to hear the conclusion to the following status update:

Our kitchen smells like dead animal ass. Literally. We’ve searched for weeks to find the source of the smell. Today, I’m pretty sure it’s the Seventh Generation dishwasher powder we switched to. Is that possible? The dishwasher’s running now, and the smell is definitely coming from there. I stuck my nose in the [detergent] box, a…n…d it’s not good. Anyone else noticed this or am I crazy?

Yes, this is the type of tasteful, articulate status update you can except from me if you choose to be my Facebook friend. And… Read the rest

March 23, 2010

Get the Antibacterials Out… Of Your Plastic!

Many of us have seen hand soaps and household cleaners that contain antibacterial chemicals like Triclosan. But did you know many plastic food containers do too?

What’s wrong with antibacterials?

All this germ phobia is actually compromising the immune systems of growing children who need to be exposed to a certain amount of germs in order for their bodies to learn how to fight them off. Antibacterials not only kill the germs that make us sick, but also the good bacteria that help to fight off the bad. These additives don’t actually kill all the bacteria. Just the weaker ones. So in this way, we are actually developing strains of superbugs that are increasingly resistant to the chemicals we use to fight them off. Triclosan is actually a suspected hormone-disruptor.  Not a great chemical to have in our homes — for our health as well as that of the planet.

What about our plastic containers?

So many of us are opting for natural cleaners… Read the rest

March 3, 2010

Are Compostable Utensils Really Compostable?

Their names range from the catchy (TaterWare, WheatWare, SpudWare) to the merely descriptive (Compostable utensils, PLA utensils, etc.) And while they are touted as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics, very few of them are actually compostable in a real world situation.

TaterWare

Take, for example, TaterWare, made from potato starch, of course. Many of the eateries in San Francisco provide this brand of take-out cutlery and feel good about it because with San Francisco’s new composting law, these things have the best shot at actually being composted. Trouble is, even if the utensils make it to the compost facility, there is little chance they will truly break down all the way.

A program manager from Golden Gate Disposal and Recycling sent me the following photos of TaterWare that had been through the city’s commercial compost operation (60-90 days):

Let me reiterate: These photos were taken AFTER commercial composting… Read the rest

February 17, 2010

Carrying Our Own Containers: Powerful Action or Pointless Inconvenience?

“Do you ever get embarrassed?” A journalist, following my plastic-free life, put that question to me as I handed the butcher my stainless steel pot. I was buying ground meat for my homemade cat food. In my own container. Waste-free. “No,” I answered flippantly. “I haven’t been embarrassed about anything since I turned 40.” But the answer wasn’t quite that simple. I do realize that my actions can seem extreme to many… okay most… people.  And it’s not always easy to buck the status quo.

Whether sending my husband out with a metal tiffin for Chinese soup when I’m sick or bringing my own stainless steel wine glasses to an outdoor music festival to avoid plastic cups, my actions have provoked both smiles and raised eyebrows. And in the end, do my efforts really matter? Can one person bringing her own mug, water bottle, food containers, glass straw, cloth napkins, reusable… Read the rest