Edinburgh Festival-goers could be charged £10 for 'reusable' cups at pop-up bars in August 2020

Festival-goers could be charged up to £10 for “reusable” cups at pop-up bars during Edinburgh’s main events as part of a bid to drive down their carbon footprint.

Festival-goers could be charged up to £10 for “reusable” cups at pop-up bars during Edinburgh’s main events as part of a bid to drive down their carbon footprint.

Discounted or free drinks could be offered to encourage the widespread use of cups which could either be kept as a souvenir or returned for a refund.

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Research is being conducted on behalf of umbrella body Festivals Edinburgh ahead of the planned roll-out of a pilot project in 2020.

It has been revealed weeks after celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall lambasted the city’s events as a “plastic nightmare.”

He told his Twitter followers of his dismay that most bars and venues he had visited in August insisted on serving drinks in plastic cups.

Festivals Edinburgh is working with the Scottish Government-funded organisation Zero Waste Scotland and Edinburgh University, which leases out a host of its sites for pop-up venues and bars, on the venture.

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The university ran a month-long “Sustainability Hub” during last month’s festivals to help participants and attendees reduce their environmental impact.

The survey being conducted by Festivals Edinburgh is seeking support for various ideas for reusable cups for both hot and cold drinks, and whether people would be prepared to drink out of stainless steel, plastic or silicone vessels.

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A spokeswoman for Festivals Edinburgh said: “Edinburgh’s Festivals have a long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability and jointly fund an environment officer who works on a range of collective projects throughout the year.

“Our joint environmental programme involves clear commitments to work to reduce pollution, emissions and waste; sustainably manage resources; raise staff awareness of environmental obligations; and assist performers and festival-goers to act in environmentally sensitive ways.

“The development of a reusable cup scheme is one current project within our overall programme. Amongst the partners involved in developing the scheme are Zero Waste Scotland, the University of Edinburgh along with the Edinburgh Festivals themselves.

A spokeswoman for the Fringe Society said: “We’re committed to reducing the environmental impact of the festival and have a number of initiatives in place to achieve this. We’ve worked with Creative Carbon Scotland since 2010 to provide advice and guidance on sustainability for Fringe participants and venues to limit the impact of our activities on the environment.

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“Venues across the Fringe landscape have adopted a range of measures this year including the use of fully compostable plastic cups and Vegware.

A spokesman for the Keep Scotland Beautiful campaign said: “It is fantastic that festivals all across the country have been taking steps to try and minimise the use of plastic cups and bottles. These efforts are to be applauded and we welcome all commitments to reduce the consumption of single-use items.”