The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: Borrow – Share – Rent

August 27, 2013

Plastic-Free Burning Man – The List, Part 1

I only had two hours sleep last night after driving 12 hours, but I want to post these pictures and give you the list of ways I’m de-plastifying my Burn this year.

I’m staying with the Earth Guardians… which is part of the Burning Man infrastructure tasked with making the event as green as possible.

If you’re on the playa, stop by and say hi, leave me a message in the little notebook attached to my tent, or come to one of my workshops, either Wednesday at 1 or Saturday at 2.

Here’s the outside view of my little home on the playa:

Tent

The tent is a Springbar Traveler 5, which is made of heavy duty cotton canvas. I put it up this morning with the help of an expert named Kearce. But it was me who pounded all 18 twelve-inch steel stakes into the hard playa.

Here are the pros and cons of a Springbar tent. Pros:

*Mostly heavy duty cotton instead of synthetic material. *Super strong, stable, and durable. According to comments online from Burners,… Read the rest

November 23, 2012

Black Friday: To Buy or Not to Buy?

I’ve got a conundrum.  It’s Black Friday, the day in the U.S. when the holiday shopping frenzy officially begins.  Environmentalists decry this day of conspicuous consumption, advocating Buy Nothing Day instead.  And normally, I would be one of them.  But this year, I actually have something to sell:  my book.  In fact, I’ve planned a super cute gift pack with a copy of Plastic-Free, a copy of the Bag It DVD (which is packaged in a paper pulp case), and a cute reusable cotton gift bag from Green Planet Parties.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you want to look at it), I can’t sell this to you today because demand for the book has been so high, it’s sold out!  The publisher ordered a second printing, but it has been delayed.   The books were supposed to have arrived in the warehouse several weeks ago, but so far, no books.  (Keeping my fingers crossed for this week!)

Now, I have a confession… Read the rest

October 2, 2012

The Reuse Alliance Wants You to Talk Like a Pirate

I realize  Talk Like a Pirate Day is over for 2012, but there’s a certain piraty expression that’s good all year round:  Arrr!  According to the official website, it means “variously, ‘yes,’ ‘I agree,’ ‘I’m happy,’ ‘I’m enjoying this beer,’ ‘My team is going to win it all,’ ‘I saw that television show, it sucked!’ and ‘That was a clever remark you or I just made.'”  But that definition fails to mention that Arrr! also sounds like “R,” the first letter of a string of very important words… words with which the Reuse Alliance would like us to become intimate and in particular, the “R” that comes before “Recycle”:  Reuse.

What is the Reuse Alliance?

“Reuse” encompasses a whole lot more “R”s, which I plan to have fun with in this post.  … Read the rest

May 11, 2011

Gardening Without Plastic, Part 1: Raised Beds and Plastic-Free Soil

Last Fall, Rodale.com’s Dana Blinder contacted me about plastic-free gardening. What she didn’t know was that I had already failed miserably in the gardening department several times and wasn’t sure gardening was my thing. That’s when we came up with a brilliant idea. Rodale would teach me how to grow an organic garden, and I would figure out how to do it with the minimum plastic possible.

My guru for this project is Rodale’s Eric Hurlock, Associate Online Editor for Organic Gardening. First, I sent him photos of my postage stamp front yard, the only space available for a garden. (My neighborhood in Oakland, CA, is in Zone 8B, according to the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder.)

I explained that the yard is basically hard clay that is overrun every Spring by tough little yellow flowers that refuse to be pulled up. Each year the landlord sends some guys over to chop the weeds down, but they’re never uprooted. I’m… Read the rest

February 25, 2009

Mowing My Weeds: Why Buy When You Can Borrow?

This was our postage stamp-sized front yard on Saturday. Michael and I thought it was pretty. But I was concerned that neighbors would report it as a hazard. The flowers weeds were over a foot tall and harboring who knows what furry little beings. Something had to be done, and I was not ready to pull it up and start our veggie garden.

I decided to just mow the weeds and leave some green. But we don’t own a lawn mower. Remembering my success with the Craiglist crockpot, I once again subscribed to a Craislist search, this time for “push mower.” But after several weeks without success, I decided to just go ahead and buy a new one. Michael, bless his conscientiously frugal heart, talked me out of it. “Beth,” he said, “How often do we ever have to mow? You’re going to buy a mower for the one time a year when we actually have rain and the plants grow by themselves?”

He was right. Still, I didn’t want to pull up … Read the rest

October 24, 2007

Learning to share (and borrow)

This weekend, I had a conversation with my dad about what to do with certain possessions if he rented out their condo in Hawaii. “I’d have to store a lot of books,” he said. And it got me realizing that one of the best ways to reduce our consumption, plastic and otherwise, is through borrowing and sharing items that we don’t need access to on a regular basis.

I understand his attachment to books. They are part of his identity. And for English major me, some books do have sentimental value. But the majority of the books that I read do not. For a while, I was buying used books and then Freecycling them. But then Michael got his library science degree, and suddenly the idea of borrowing rather than owning became an option I hadn’t considered since elementary school. So now, when I want to read something, I try to borrow it from the library or from a friend before thinking about whether I want to purchase it.

But libraries are not just… Read the rest