Plastic bottles banned from Hebridean music festival

The HebCelt festival in Stornoway, which axed plastic straws in 2014, has now banned plastic bottles. Picture: Contributed
The HebCelt festival in Stornoway, which axed plastic straws in 2014, has now banned plastic bottles. Picture: Contributed
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One of Scotland’s biggest outdoor music festivals is set to impose a ban on plastic bottles this year.

The Scottish Government has urged other event organisers to follow the lead of the Hebridean Celtic Festival on the Isle of Lewis.

It has asked caterers only to serve drinks in paper cups and will only be issuing reusable water bottles to crew, volunteers and acts like Deacon Blue and The Fratellis.

Fans attending the event will be urged not to bring “single-use” plastic bottles along to the event, which is staged in the grounds of Lews Castle, in Stornoway.

Extra water stations will be installed throughout the festival arena, where caterers will also be asked to serve soft drinks in paper cups and use 100 per cent biodegradable plates and cutlery, which can be composted after the event.

Hebcelt was highly commended for its efforts to reduce its environmental impact at a major industry awards earlier this year.

The event, which is currently sponsored by the firm Lewis Wind Power, has had a ban on plastic straws in place since 2014 and introduced re-usable eco-cups to its arena. Around 1,600 tickets are sold for the four-day event, which is worth more than £2.2 million for the economy.

It emerged last month that Glastonbury organisers were looking at banning “single-use” plastic bottles when the event returns from its hiatus next year.

The Hydro arena in Glasgow recently announced a ban on plastic straws after the indie-rock band Mogwai staged its first “waste free show”. HebCelt director Caroline Maclenann said: “We’re proud of our success at recycling and minimising waste on the site, and the recent focus on plastics has prompted us to see what else we can do to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated.

“The extra measures 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.

“We’ve 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.”

Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “I welcome HebCelt’s steps to ban single use plastic items.

“It’s good to see communities and organisations across Scotland taking steps to help change Scotland’s throwaway culture and I would encourage other organisations to follow HebCelt’s example and consider what they can do to reduce single use plastics.”