Wednesday, July 2

A Green Guide to the Edinburgh Festivals with Creative Carbon Scotland

By Allison Palenske, blogger-in-residence at Creative Carbon Scotland

Widely regarded as the world’s favourite festival city, Edinburgh truly transforms during the month of August every year. With multiple festivals taking place at the same time, some of which have programme listings in the thousands, it can be hard to navigate your journey through the festivals.

As Creative Carbon Scotland’s summer intern and blogger-in-residence, one of my roles with the organisation is to help sort the chaos of the festival into a more navigable affair. Creative Carbon Scotland is an organisation based in Edinburgh and working across Scotland that has created a successful network of like-minded people, all of whom explore the idea of integrating sustainability into the arts, and put culture into the heart of a sustainable Scotland. Creative Carbon Scotland offers practical training for organisations looking to become more sustainable and offers an abundance of resources for this developing strand of the cultural sector.

As part of our GreenEdFests campaign (#greenedfests), we will be launching a micro-blog to act as a comprehensive resource for all things green at the Edinburgh Festivals. If you are at all interested in sustainability, or the arts, or both, the information provided below will give you a head start to your Edinburgh Festivals strategy for 2014.

Working with the Edinburgh Fringe, we will be hosting two Re-use and Recycle Days for Fringe companies to bring their festival remnants for repurposing or recycling. The event will take place at Fringe Central on 25-26 August. At the Re-use and Recycle Day in 2011, twelve tonnes of unused print publicity were collected for recycling, showing the excessive amount of print wastage produced during the festivals. By being able to monitor and record this amount, Fringe venues moved to reduce their print runs by 25% the following year.

Festivals Edinburgh and Creative Carbon Scotland will host a seminar “Can Festivals Change the World?” on 14 August. Speakers at the seminar will address the following questions-

  • What is art’s role in a changing climate?
  • How can artists be part of changing the world for the better?
  • What can festivals do for sustainability?

The Green Arts Initiative is an accreditation service provided by Creative Carbon Scotland. Through training and active participation, a number of venues, companies and organisations across the city have made significant improvements in operating sustainably. Many of these venues are active during the Festivals, so be sure to show your support for their environmental efforts by attending shows and exhibitions.

Supported by the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, Creative Carbon Scotland and media partner The List, the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award will be in its fifth year of existence for this year’s Fringe. The award recognises artists and companies whom address sustainability in myriad ways during the Fringe. The award is granted towards the end of the Fringe, so be sure to keep in touch via Creative Carbon Scotland’s website for more information in due course.

Practical Tips for Festival-Goers

BYOB- Cut down on costs and your carbon footprint by bringing your own reusable water bottle. The Edinburgh International Book Festival offers two public drinking-water taps in their venue.

Avoid leaflets- We know it is hard to avoid collecting a single leaflet during the Festivals, but most information can be found conveniently online or by using mobile applications specifically made for the Festivals. The Edinburgh International Book Festival also encourages reuse of their brochures by offering points to return brochures after use.

Travel green- Luckily Edinburgh is a very walkable city. With an efficient bus system, new tramline, bicycle taxis and rail service, getting to and from the festival venues is easy and green.

Stay green- While finding accommodation can be a frantic search, if you have started your search enough in advance you should be able to book one of the city’s many Green Tourism Gold Award recognised hotels or hostels.

While we respect the many approaches and themes present at the Edinburgh Festivals, following our Green Guide offers an eco-conscious approach to the Edinburgh Festivals.

For current events listings, articles and further information, please visit our website at and be sure to include #greenedfests in your Festival tweets.

You can see the Festivals Edinburgh travel guide here.

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