#GreenArtsDay 2020

18 March 2020

We’re proud to be one of 220 arts organisations across Scotland who are members of the Green Arts Initiative – a collective who work together to reduce their environmental impact.

As part of Green Arts Day 2020 we wanted to share some of our most recent work and what the future has in store…

Reusable cup trials

Last August we teamed up with Hiccup to explore different reusable drinks cup options to see which would work best at the Fringe. Customers were given the option to try out a reusable silicone drinks cup at one of our George Street bars during the 2019 Fringe and the Hiccup team asked visitors what they’d be looking for if such a scheme was rolled out across all our bars.

Nearly two-thirds of customers who participated in the trial owned a reusable cup for hot beverages, but none owned one for soft or alcoholic drinks sold at a bar. As part of the trial we asked them what they thought about owning a cup outright and compared this with other schemes including a deposit return scheme, where customers pay a deposit for the cup which can be refunded on return, or the existing recyclable cups.

We discovered that nine out of ten participants in the trial would be prepared to buy a reusable cup in one form or another rather than a single use recyclable cup and nearly 80% were keen to reuse the cup without washing if they were having the same drink again.

The results of this pilot scheme have been invaluable, and we are using them to help build our new plans for 2020 so watch this space!

Electric cargo bikes

During August we operate more than 20 different performance spaces across the city and often have to move equipment and other materials from one side of Edinburgh to the other.

In recent years we’ve started to use electric cargo bikes to move from one venue to another quickly and efficiently thanks to Sustrans’ bike library and plan to use these again this summer.

Reuse and recycling

We’re working to reduce disposable products across all our operations but wherever this isn’t currently possible we’re dedicated to reusing or recycling as much as possible. We’re working to reduce paper use for both our and our artists marketing to ensure that everything is used. In the event anything is left behind this is all recycled.

The foamex advertising boards we use across our venues have to be incredibly robust to last nearly two months of whatever the Scottish climate can throw at it. Its strength makes it ideal for reuse so instead of recycling we give it a new home after August by donating it to local cosplay groups who use it to give it a second life as costumes and as craft materials.

One of the best things about the Fringe is that there’s something for everyone and an extraordinary selection to choose from. That’s great when it comes to finding the perfect show but not so good when working out which recycling bin to use. With Fringegoers often dashing from one venue to another, there’s often a matter of seconds to make sense of the different recycling schemes in place across the city and which materials should go in which bin.

To help tackle this challenge and reduce recycling contamination we’re teaming up with the University of Edinburgh, EUSA, Gilded Balloon, Summerhall, Underbelly and The Pleasance to design and implement a standardised design and layout of recycling bins across as many Fringe venues as possible. Thanks to help from Zero Waste Scotland we’re looking to trial the scheme this summer to help to move towards a target of sending zero waste to landfill.

Find out more about our sustainability work