The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: Resources

May 22, 2016

BULK — New Mobile Site from The Zero Waste Home

Bea Johnson from The Zero Waste Home has created a new mobile website for finding shops that offer products without packaging.  No matter where in the world you live, it’s possible there is a shop nearby where you can bring your own bags and containers to buy foods or personal care and cleaning products without the disposable wrapping, usually plastic, that most products come packaged in.  You might have never heard of this shop, but someone else has and has added it to the BULK website for you to find.… 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 22, 2012

Searching for free drinking water? WeTap can help.

One obstacle to carrying our own water bottles can be the difficulty finding water fountains or other sources for refilling those bottles when we’re out in the world. Since today is World Water Day, I thought I would give you a rundown of some of the strategies I use, as well as tell you about an awesome new Android app.

WeTap Water Fountain Mapping App

WeTap is a project developed by Evelyn Wendell, one of the inspiring activists profiled in my upcoming book, in conjunction with the Pacific Institute. One of the project’s goals is to create a database of the world’s water fountains, including their locations and operating conditions, and to provide the information to the public and relevant decision makers. To that end, WeTap has created a smartphone app to allow users to search for nearby water fountains and also–and perhaps most importantly–add water fountains to the database.

The app is super easy to use.  … 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 Craigslist crockpot, I once again subscribed to a Craigslist 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 … Read the rest

March 18, 2008

Blue Vinyl: A Toxic Love Story

I was sick as a dog this weekend and spent all day Saturday on the couch watching videos. Many readers, after reading about my purges (here and here and here) of #3 PVC containers and a MultiPure water filter system containing PVC, recommended Blue Vinyl to me. But I just never had time to sit down and watch it until I was too sick to do anything else.

Wow. Thank you to everyone who recommended this film. And for those who haven’t seen it, run out NOW and get it. Rent it from Netflix, borrow it from the library or from a friend who has it, or buy your own copy to share with your friends.  (If you purchase via links in this post, My Plastic-Free Life earns a small percentage!)  I just ordered mine, as this DVD is one piece of plastic I hope to get a lot of use from.

Watching this film gave me such hope for what we can do as individuals if we put our minds to it. It’s the personal story of the filmmaker, Judith Helfand, who reveals right from the start that she’s… Read the rest

July 25, 2007

Free plastic (and other items) on Freecycle

Do you all know about your local Freecycle™ group? Freecycle™ is a great way to save plastic, and other items, from the landfill. If you have an item that you no longer need, list it on Freecycle™. There is probably someone else out there who could use it. Need an item and don’t want to purchase a brand new one? Post a WANTED ad on Freecycle™. Maybe someone else has it for you.

Freecycle™ is actually a huge organization of groups that operate pretty independently in each city or area. Each group must follow some basic Freecycle™ rules, but then they can make their own rules regarding things like the number of Wanted postings allowed per month (some groups limit Wanted postings; others do not), whether or not pets can be exchanged, and the format of posts.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am a member of 4 different Freecycle™ groups:

Oakland: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oaklandfreecycle/ Berkeley: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Berkeley_CA_Freecycle/Read the rest