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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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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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FRANCOBLOGGO I: Who are Francobollo?

Good morning! Good Evening! Merry Christmas! Happy year 3000! Whenever you may read this message, hello to you. The benefit of writing a blog is the knowledge that this message will be online forever more. Something I do not consider when I tweet, facebook, Insta ‘, or below-the-line comment online. The fact that these words are inhabiting a small space somewhere in the corner of a server somewhere underground. Taking up more digital real estate…

From left to right: Simon Nilsson, Petter Grevelius, Sean Bean (drums), Sam Bailey

I know you can not guess where I am going with this, but I do not know where to go. Impressed? Great. We are Francobollo. A band of four people from Sweden and England who is going to spend a lot of money together. Right now you are reading the wordings of the bassist Sam Bailey (hello!), But you can hear from other members on the course of this month – singer Simon Nilsson (Hallå!), Guitarist Petter Grevelius (Sup!) And drummer Sean Bean (Tjena!) We have tasks about this blog, the Plastic Soup Foundation, to raise awareness of single-use plastic’s impact on the environment, and PSF’s #StartPlasticDiet campaign. If you have not seen it, we have just released our new music video, a collaboration with animator Samuel Lewis ( samuellewis.com.au ), to illustrate this.

Over the next month we are going to share our thoughts, feelings, failings, successes and ideas about trying to maintain a Plastic Diet, while being a musician’s wage. It’s all very good talking about avoiding plastic, but when you’ve got it, you can get tough. We are going to try though. We are fed up of the world that has been built around us, encouraging us to think hard about what we do everyday. Single use plastic is a good example of how we are shunning our own responsibilities, like room-ridden teens, and walking our way to being total dicks. And that is us included there. We are normal humans too. Capable of all the disposable attitudes to life. But we want to change!

Join us for the fun.

With love. Franco.

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Launch Health Campaign: Start Plastic Diet

 

Amsterdam, 8 June 2018 – Plastic can cause cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s 

Chemicals in plastic can cause cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, arthritis, impotency and even harm babies in the womb.  

Scientific evidence is piling up. It’s becoming impossible to ignore, inevitably pointing in the same direction. Plastic is everywhere: plastic particles, nanoplastics, microplastics are in food, drinks (tap water and bottled water) and in the air we breathe. For example, from the wear from car tyres in the air and microfibres from synthetic clothes. Cosmetics also contain plastic: lipstick, mascara, nail polish, anti-aging cream… The list goes on and on and on.

 Enough is enough 

 Today on World Oceans Day, the Plastic Soup Foundation (PSF) is launching a new highly visual campaign. Emotive and hard-hitting. The main visual of the campaign is a human baby, except it’s a human baby made from plastic waste dumped in the oceans. The plastic human baby is a symbol. If we don’t act now, we are passing on our plastic waste problems. Literally poisoning future generations.  

Not enough is known about the adverse health effects of plastic on the human body. That is why the Plastic Soup Foundation calls on companies and governments to initiate and fund more scientific research. To provide answers and protect people from the harmful effects of plastic. 

What the scientists say 

One of the leading environmental researchers over the last three decades is Dr Susan Shaw, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the State University of New York.  

“There is an urgent need to understand how toxic chemicals, plastics, global warming are affecting the environment and human health. This is the frontier, the moral imperative of science today that can sustain life in the future.”  

Dr Shaw has pioneered research into ocean pollution, oil spills, plastics, and climate change. This research is recognized by the global scientific community and has influenced public policy. She is renowned as a researcher for diving into the Gulf of Mexico oil slick following the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. She considers plastic pollution as the biggest oil slick of all time, because oil is the main source of plastic. 

Dr Heather Leslie, Senior Researcher at the Department of Environment and Health at VU University, Amsterdam agrees. 

“The hazards of plastic particles for humans are slowly emerging from a number of studies. Plastic debris is a notorious marine issue, but it should now be recognized as a human health issue as well.”

Not just a problem, also a solution 

The Plastic Soup Foundation isn’t just raising awareness of the global health problems caused by plastic. PSF offers solutions. PSF wants to change the way people use plastic. Not by stopping plastic use, but by starting a plastic diet.

What is a plastic diet? 

Maria Westerbos, Director and Founder of the PSF, is currently in New York for World Oceans Day, initiated by the United Nations. 

We can all consume less plastic. As individuals. As a family. In business. On a national and international level. At startplasticdiet.org we offer advice and tips so that everyone and every company can cut down on plastic use. By using less plastic bags (obviously)By bringing your own coffee cup to the local takeaway coffee shop. By not chewing gum (it’s full of plastic). Every little bit less plastic helps. Just by thinking about using less plastic will make already a real difference. The plastic diet is a movement. A revolution. The whole world must go on a plastic diet. 

Plastic Diet Ambassadors  

The PSF health campaign will be supported by ambassadors including famous DJ/producer Oliver Heldens and Olympic surfing gold medallist, Dorian van Rijsselberghe. 

The Plastic Soup Foundation 

The Plastic Diet is an initiative from the Plastic Soup Foundation. Set up in 2011 with a simple mission: NO PLASTIC WASTE IN OUR WATER! 

Instead of taking plastic waste out of the water, we tackle the problem at its source.  Through awareness campaigns, education programmes and working together with businesses, universities and other NGOs. To reduce and prevent unnecessary plastic use. And stop plastic ending up in the environment.

For more scientific background you can read our position paper: Plastic and Human Health alarming evidence.