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HCF Blog

Plastic Ban

As I sat down to write this we have just announced that we are to remove single use plastic from our festival site this July.

This is a natural progression in our campaign to make the festival as environmentally-responsible as possible and this bold move has won the support of the Scottish Government which is encouraging other events to follow our lead.

HebCelt banned plastic straws four years ago and in 2015 introduced re-usable, eco-cups in on-site bars to cut down on plastic waste. These great cups which are purchased onsite for use at the bars have now become a collector’s piece for attendees. Despite some initial doubts, they were immediately a huge success as gone were the unsightly cornstarch drinks cups that used to litter the site and those who attended the event, and those who just regularly use the castle grounds, all commented on how clean the grounds are with a major event in situ.

Where it might be considered an easy undertaking this initiative relies on the goodwill and buy-in from all involved with the event but most particularly the catering concessionaires. Caterers at this year’s event have been asked to serve soft drinks in paper cups and continue to use 100 per cent biodegradable plates and cutlery which can be composted with organic waste.

The festival will also increase the number of ‘hydration stations’ on the site, where tap water is available, supply free, bio-degradable paper cups and encourage festival-goers to use re-usable water bottles. These can be purchased from the festival retailing on site or can be brought in clean for stocking on site.

In addition, artists, volunteers and crew will be supplied with free water bottles to avoid the need to bring in supplies of bottled water.

We felt the first Green Arts Day, organised by Creative Carbon Scotland, was the ideal occasion to announce our latest initiative to ban single-use plastics.

HebCelt’s commitment to reducing plastic waste is also in line with the Final Straw campaign, which has helped cut back on the use of plastic straws, and the Making Waves Guide, published this month by RAW Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation committed to educating people to move towards sustainable consumption.

In January, the event’s environmental credentials earned it a Highly Commended accolade at A Greener Festival Awards event in Holland, the only Scottish festival to earn the accolade.

It followed actions relating to the sustainable use of resources, reducing emissions and waste and raising awareness of environmental matters among festival-goers, artists, volunteers, suppliers and contractors.

The extra measures introduced this year will not only reduce the amount of plastic being processed but will also help to keep the site clear of litter and therefore more pleasant for festival-goers.

The success of these actions is dependent on the goodwill of our visitors, the willingness of our vendors to participate in green initiatives and the sterling efforts of our Green Team, who strive so hard to keep the festival site clean and tidy.

But we’ve also been hugely encouraged by the willingness of festival-goers to take part in these initiatives over the years and are confident they will support the plastics ban as the next stage in the process.