The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: BYO

February 9, 2010

Life Without Plastic’s New Insulated Lunch Bag

Yesterday, I hinted at how I carried home my ice cream from Tara’s in an insulated nearly plastic-free bag. Now, perhaps you have already figured out a plastic-free way to carry hot or cold foods without losing/letting in heat. But more often than not, the choice is a nylon or neoprene bag insulated with plastic foam, right? Some are constructed out of recycled plastic, which is great.  But it’s nice to know that there is an (almost) plastic-free alternative.  That alternative? Wool.

Personally, I was excited when Jay from the company Life Without Plastic sent me information about his new locally-produced insulated wool lunch bag. (Locally-produced means made in Canada, where Life Without Plastic is based, rather than [for those of us in North America] overseas.)… Read the rest

February 8, 2010

Eating Ice Cream for Breakfast — Plastic-Free & Zero Waste

Did you know that Saturday was International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day? Well, it was. Unfortunately, since I’m trying to avoid ice cream packaging waste (All ice cream containers are lined with plastic), I didn’t have any in the house.  And I could tell my freezer was feeling a little sad.

So, remembering Steve L.’s comment here last week, I called Ici, one of the awesome ice cream shops in my neighborhood, to find out if they would handpack a pint in my own container. “No,” they said. “We can only use our own containers. But our containers are compostable.”  Not good enough.  I was looking for a zero waste experience.

So I tried Tara’s Organic, the amazing ice cream shop I wrote about on this very blog a year and a half ago. I called and asked. The answer: An enthusiastic, “YES. Of course you can!” So I did.

Read the rest

November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving, Buy Nothing Day, & My Travel Mug

stainless steel travel mug

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. This post is not really about today but tomorrow:  the day the media insists on calling “Black Friday.”  I’m choosing instead to honor “Buy Nothing Day.” And to celebrate Buy Nothing Day, I am not going to replace my lost travel mug. And I’m not just going to wait until Saturday to replace it either. Here’s a little background…

This was my travel mug. Nice, huh? Stainless steel outside and in. Yeah, some plastic, which at this point seems to be inevitable with travel mugs. I lost it a few weeks ago and have been carrying a big ceramic mug with me, which is not so practical since it has no top and could be easily broken. But this is not the first travel mug I’ve lost. I lost the previous one, which looked exactly like this, back in October of 2008.  I’d had it for about a year.

See, I lose things. A few years ago, I left an iPod in the back seat of a taxi cab. I left a camera… Read the rest

October 19, 2009

Plastic-Free Intermission

After seeing two Broadway musicals this past week (Wicked, for the second time, and Rent, for the fifth) I just have one quick and easy tip to share today.  Skip the plastic wine cups during theater intermissions. Bring your own reusable beverage container.

I came prepared with two of the stainless steel wine “glasses” I purchased this summer — one for me and one for my friend Mark. But you can use pretty much anything that will hold liquid. It’s a great conversation starter and an awesome way to hold up the line and irritate the people behind you.

Or fill up your Klean Kanteen at home and bring it instead. It’s stainless steel, so no one can see what’s in it anyway. Just kidding. I would never suggest that you bring outside beverages into the theater with you other than plain tap water.  (I’ve been up all night working on a website [not mine] and am probably exhausted, but I had so much coffee yesterday [in my reusable… Read the rest

August 31, 2009

Outside Lands Rocks with Less Plastic

Don’t get me wrong. There was still a ton of plastic waste to be recycled from the Outside Lands Music Festival that took place this weekend in Golden Gate Park.

But less than last year. Because instead of providing only bottled water, the festival organizers listened to the feedback from last year’s attendees (like me!) and provided water refill stations as well.

I was heartened to see the stations being used by many people who brought their own bottles. That said, the system was not all I could have wished for. True to a festival guard’s declaration to me last year that they had “no intention of providing free water to everyone,” Outside Lands brought in 5-gallon jugs of Arrowhead water and sold each 20-ounce refill for $1. Or if you bought an Outside Lands branded reusable bottle, refills were free throughout the festival.

Now certainly, these jugs produce much less waste than individual plastic bottles because… Read the rest

August 6, 2009

My Green Chicago Trip, Part 1: Hostel vs. Hotel

So, I’ve been blogging (whining) about the Blogher Conference in Chicago, but did you know I stayed a few more days to hang out and see the city? This was my vacation, and wow did I need one.

During the conference, I roomed with Micaela Preston (Mindful Momma) at the Chicago Sheraton, the same hotel where the conference was held. And while I can deal with a pillow-topped bed a few times in my life, I couldn’t afford to stay at the Sheraton for the remainder of my trip.

Instead, I moved to the Chicago Hostel, where I shared a dorm with several other women half my age!

Less luxury, for sure. But certainly more green, and in a way, more fun!

The Sheraton provides many individually-wrapped amenities. Take a look at what is provided in the bathroom. Also, a hair dryer (not shown.)

At the hostel, you get soap and a hair dryer. And the soap comes in a bulk container, so you only use as much as you need. Zero waste.

So what did I bring? Here’s a peek at the contents… Read the rest

June 19, 2009

Confession of a Fast Food Addict who ate at Amanda’s and forgot to BYO.

The theme of the Green Mom’s Carnival this month is Eco-Confessions. And I have a big one. I love fast food. Every time I pass a McDonald’s I have to close my eyes and count to ten to keep from going in and ordering a double cheeseburger. This fact probably grosses some of you out. And when I think about what a McDonald’s double cheeseburger is made of, it grosses me out too. But it’s hard to think about the cows and environmental degradation wrought by the meat industry (and the mono-culture GMO corn industry) when I catch a whiff of those burgers sizzling on the grill.

But that’s not really my confession. Because mostly, I manage to resist that McDonald’s urge that was instilled in me as a child through no fault of my own. I resist and resist. And the few times a year I succumb, I get out with no bag, no napkin, no cup or straw or ketchup pack. I do try to mitigate the damage as much as possible because I’m always prepared… Read the rest

March 18, 2009

I eat a lot of bread!

Last Friday, Arduous wrote a hilarious piece in response to Michael Pollan’s request for readers’ “food rules”. Instead of healthy rules for eating, her post, “Things That I Call Dinner,” confesses menu items such as candy, s’mores, and plain spinach with apples.

My own rule for Michael Pollan, which I left in a comment to his article, is “Real food doesn’t come packaged in plastic.”

That’s all very well and good. What I didn’t say was that sometimes days go by during which I’m too busy or lazy to eat anything but plastic-free bread. That can’t be healthy, can it?

Granted, we do have the best bakery in town. La Farine on College Ave bakes fresh, whole grain, organic bread every day. And I bring my organic cotton ecobag to carry it home… avoiding all packaging, paper or plastic.

Keeping it fresh is another story. Once home, I store the bread inside the… Read the rest

March 4, 2009

Clothesnik saves plastic, if only dry cleaners would use it!

Way back in October, my friend Doug sent me a Clothesnik canvas garment bag to try out. I finally had a chance to use it last week. We haven’t taken clothes to the cleaners since July of last year! Unfortunately, it took a while to find a green cleaner that would actually use the bag. More on that later. First, I want to tell you about the Clothesnik.

The Clothesnik is a 100% cotton garment bag and laundry bag in one. Toss dirty clothes into it and tie up the bag using the strings at the bottom. Or use it clean as a garment bag to replace the disposable plastic bags the cleaners give out. If you don’t want to pay for the laundry service to clean the Clothesnik bag, wash it at home and return with it to pick up the clean clothes. Or don’t use it as a laundry bag. There are just so many options.

Our problem was finding a cleaner to use it correctly in the first place. A while back I wrote about green cleaner Blue Sky, which uses CO2 to clean clothes, one of the… Read the rest

March 3, 2009

A Jedi is always prepared…

… with her/his reusable travel mug or water bottle. And this post is just an excuse to show off the depths of our geekitude last Saturday at San Francisco’s WonderCon comic book convention.

Really, it was a wonderland of plastic… plastic action figures, plastic-wrapped posters, plastic bags, plastic boobs (I think). We only went for the opportunity to dress up in costumes left over from the short film Reservoir Jedi, made by Michael and his friend Andy several years ago, and for the chance to see what Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher look like up close these days.

But even at a fantasy convention, the rules of Fake Plastic Fish apply. Michael had his Klean Kanteen, I had my travel mug, and we both refused the plastic swag bag offered at the entrance to the fest.

We walked around looking fabulous (I would so totally dress like this every day if I could get away with it) but did not buy anything but coffee. On the way to the convention center, … Read the rest