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FRANCOBLOGGO V: It’s a wrap!

Having had some space to reflect on our month of plastic free living, it’s time to assess how we, the common every-person, can adapt to lessen our everyday plastic use.

The first observation is that, in spite of there still being a long way to go, there are lots of companies beginning to make a change in their policies. Not just that, but reflecting it in their PR and advertising. My local chain supermarket is soon to be adopting paper based shopping bags. A bar near me is going to sell ring-pull cans of water, rather than bottles, that can be recycled after use. Both these places have big colourful adverts hanging up in their stores boasting about this positive change.

If you think about it – they are still companies who are in need of profit and revenue. They still have to cowtow to their superiors. Us the consumer. They wouldn’t dare alienate their customers by pushing an unwanted agenda. They know that this will get them noticed, get them press, get more people in the door, and land them more money. Cynical thought, I know. But the big positive here is that they are reacting to us the consumer. We are beginning to demand more ethical and sustainable practices in our everyday lives. It’s not that they have just started listening, it is that we have started shouting louder. And that’s great!

Living a plastic free life is challenging to say the least. Our lifestyles have become accelerated, but delicate like a tea trolley with a ferarri engine. We can move fast, but it won’t take much for everything to crash. So we feed this lifestyle with quick things. Quick food. Quick entertainment. Quick conversations. Plastic is perfect for this existence. So we need to address societal pressures and expectations as much as we do the products we use.

We also need to get our facts straight and pay more attention to news that isn’t sexy, and fashionable. Unsexy news is more likely to keep us alive longer. A recent article from Bloomberg stated that the big move to reduce plastic straws in clubs is an ineffective method of reducing ocean pollution, albeit a very easy and virtuous thing for us to get behind. Plastic straws make up 0.03 % of the 8 million metric tons. The biggest plastic pollutant in the water? Discarded fishing nets. So although we can make a small personal difference by changing our habits. The biggest change will come from us as consumers. 

If we can change our demand for things, we will change the supply. It’ll take a while. But it’s worth doing. Let the companies boast about how good they are! And let us show them what we want by buying those things!

Thanks for reading our rants. See you out there in the green! xx

 

 

Check out Francobloggo’s I to IV here.

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TENT-EYES

FRANCOBLOGGO IV: At festivals, leave no trace, baby!

Hey hey hey! Sam again here. Festival season is nearly over, and my lord we are having a lovely time. The food, the sun, the heat, the music, the people. From city dwelling for so long, even the fabrication of a field in England setup to shield city dwellers from the elements is enough for us to shout out to the world “By God I’ve missed getting back to nature!” The rolling green hills, the threateningly wet looking sky, a dainty vegan nut bar wrapper caught in the breeze dancing with an empty can of K cider.

It doesn’t take long to realise we have lifted our trash happy lives and sensibilities and dumped them in the countryside. Comedian Louis C.K. does a great bit about littering in New York. The fact that we have paved over ‘the environment’, created a trash pile out of concrete and now virtuously demand that our waste into put into plastic bags and trotted out to what is left of the countryside to be shoved in the ground.

This summer we have been more aware at festivals than ever at how we can make little changes to leave no trace.

As a touring musician, walking into your dressing room is like Christmas morning at the Shrodinger’s. You’re either going to be unwrapping a cute new pet, or some spoilt meat. Especially at our level, where you wonder whether they even attempted to fulfil your rider. Generally speaking, there is usually a bottle of red wine, a few beers, a bowl of nuts, a bag of salad and a massive pack of individual water bottles.

These water bottles are thrown back very quickly and straight into the single bin with an unknown destination. There are some benefits – you don’t want to spread any strep throat amongst the vocal members of the band. And it’s troublesome taking a pint of water onstage only to kick it through your pedals.

At a venue in Stockholm we were delighted with a note saying ‘here are some glasses, help yourself to our world famous Swedish tap water’. It didn’t disappoint. Twas like see through liquid silver. We have since adjusted our rider to try and reflect a more reasonable and ethical list of products and refreshments. Simple changes like jugs of tap water and glasses, to fresh market fruits and loaves of bread from bakeries. Sure we can hear the groans from the poor runners who have to go and source these things, but you have to start somewhere.

The last point I want to make is something that always gets me sad at the end of any festival – especially if I am one of the last to leave. Amid the bags of rubbish left at each individual’s spot, stand the discarded tents. Left for someone else to take down. If there was one action that so encapsulates our disposable culture, it is the idea of a £20 single use tent and its owner wandering off, satiated in the knowledge that their donation of a tent will probably go to a refugee camp somewhere to help them poors.

The image is a harrowing one.

I get quite angry about it. So, sorry dear reader. What can we do? Ban cheap tents? Guard dogs used to ‘encourage’ people to pack away their tents – would make doing the pop-up tent fold-down dance more entertaining for sure. Tears streaming as it keeps exploding open.

Personally I think it’s more systemic, and therefore more complex. It is dissuading people  from misusing their disposable incoming. Value the things we have. Buy things to last. Take care of our belongings. As always we need to change our culture. And that always always always starts with us. It then perforates out to our friends.

Leave no trace baby!

x

 

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FRANCOBLOGGO III: How much plastic do we use every day?

(This is Sean Bean’s second Francobloggo, read the first one here)

Now, I decided to collect all the plastic I accumulated through a single day (buying food, drinks, and products), to raise my own awareness of my waste footprint. I work as a builder/maintenance man when I’m not frollocking about playing music with Francobollo and other people, and as a result (juggling two full time jobs essentially) I have very little time. Cooking for me personally is a luxury and something I love doing when I can but the truth is I’m either on the road or on a worksite and am rarely at home with any downtime. So the only option is unfortunately to buy Tesco sandwiches and fast food when I’m out and about and in this super hot weather we’ve had I’ve probably bought more bottled waters etc than I have otherwise put together in about a year!

So after a normal day of work this is what I ended up with (left). These were just the items with plastic in them! I had about an equal amount in card and paper, which was a minor shock to even myself and i bought it! It’s so easy to neglect and we do it every day! So hey! We need to make more time for ourselves to prepare food and drinks for the day to cut down on a substantial amount of plastic waste (even though that can be harder than it sounds)!

Last but not least I am a major coffee fiend! I have a ritual of buying a chocolate croissant in the morning before work and have been a culprit of getting those non reusable and non recyclable cups (most of which have been commandeered by my girlfriend to be used as plant pots). But in light of embarking on our recent Plastic Diet we decided to try the reusable plastic cups; now here are my two cents on that.

When I went out on a stroll to find myself a reusable cup to take to get my coffee in the morning i realised that the alternatives for people on the same wage bracket i’m on (minimum wage) are plastic and in most cases virgin plastic, which we are trying to get away from right? And my options readily available were either spending £1 on a probably-virgin plastic cup from your standard big chain coffee shop or spending 8-15 pounds on a biodegradable cup or one made out of recycled plastics.

Now as a rather poor person, and especially a poor person in London, I see no alternative there; this has to change. I feel like these changes will only happen if they are made accessible to everyone in a wide scale way and it’s our collective responsibility to make sure that happens.

Get together shout from the rooftops, write your local MP, and above all write strongly worded letters to big corporations and share your thoughts/fears/experiences with them and highlight what the people want! Not what profit wants!

All the love from the least qualified person to speak about any of this in the world! xo

 

PSF note: Wanna know what options are there for reusable coffee cups? Check these out!

 

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FRANCOBLOGGO II: Plastic at the supermarket

Tjena! Sean Bean the drummer of Francobollo here, its now my turn to talk about the journey into a more plastic free lifestyle! Yay!

So starting out this month me and my girlfriend Aspen made a point of unwrapping any items in the supermarket that didn’t need it and leaving it there to highlight the fact that it’s not necessary and in a lot of cases unwanted. A sort of mini-protest to say ‘you guys deal with it’!

On our very first visit, here’s what happened; we did our normal shopping and on this particular visit it was my turn to buy toilet roll for the house (I live with 4 other people). My girlfriend is a major fan of monkey nuts so that was in there too, and when we got to the self-checkout we started unwrapping everything and leaving it in a basket on the side. The Swede in me was cringing at every rip as we have a tendency to feel very embarrassed when we leave something for someone else to deal with. Towards the end of our unpacking i started to feel a little bit better knowing it was for a good cause and I just needed to buck up and get on with it, after all this is our planet we are doing this for!

We brought a tote bag to carry everything in, so as to not accumulate yet another plastic bag, which would have inevitably ended up in some crevice in my room somewhere not to be seen again until the day we move out. Aspen went on to open the monkey nuts and pour them into the bag all over the toilet roll, and at that very moment i realised that my roommate is allergic to nuts!

So now we have a whole pack of bog roll in my room that only we can use in fear of killing my roommate with an allergic reaction…

In the frenzy of making the world a better place, keep in mind sometimes that the plastic that is around us has kept these anxious thoughts completely at bay and is a testament to the apathy we are falling into as a result! The more i think about it, the comforts of our time seem to inhibit our thinking about our surroundings and being aware of its big and small scale effects on it.

In short, it’s pretty hard to be aware and take action! We all need regular reminding until it’s a thing of the past! Next time we go grocery shopping I’ll be sure to bring a little nut basket to keep it all separate!

To be continued…

 

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