Tens of thousands of tonnes of rubbish collected on the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will be turned into renewable energy after organisers took over responsibility for waste collection in the city’s main street theatre arena.
The festival, which gets underway today, has ordered 17 new bins for the heart of the High Street as part of its biggest ever drive to reduce its impact on the environment.
Venues are being urged to curb the production and distribution of flyers this year, as well as encourage audiences to get to shows using “greener travel options,” such as walking or cycling.
The Fringe Society has pledged to reduce the amount of paper it uses by a third over the next five years, including tickets for shows and its official programme.
All waste collected by the Fringe in the middle section of the Royal Mile will be turned into “refuse derived fuel” under a new partnership with waste management firm Enva.
Produced by shredding and dehydrating solid waste, it dramatically cuts the amount of waste sent to landfill.
The new bins are set to be unveiled today as part of a major overhaul of the street theatre arena on the Royal Mile. These have been designed to help make the Fringe infrastructure more in keeping with its historic surroundings, ease crowd congestion, improve stages for performers and make it easier for audiences to navigate their way around.
Terror barriers introduced to the High Street last year in the wake of a major security review of the arena have been given a gold and black makeover as part of the overhaul, which has also seen more than 600 multi-coloured pigeons installed on new entrance archways, buildings, poster towers and other landmarks.
The 17 new bins on the High Street have been designed for the Fringe by the Edinburgh-based artist Eilidh Muldoon, whose work will also be used throughout the new arena to improve its look.
The Fringe has taken over responsibility for waste collection in the High Street from the city council, which is bringing in an extra 40 staff to keep the city’s streets clean this month.
Olly Davies, the Fringe’s head of marketing, said: “We’ve been looking at different options for the High Street that meet our new sustainability objectives.
“All the advice we’ve had is that standard waste segregation wasn’t going to work. As soon as it starts to get contaminated it is a nightmar
“The company we’re working with will basically turn all the waste we collect on the High Street into a sustainable fuel source.
“We’re trying to do as much as we can to reduce the Fringe’s carbon footprint in the next five years and have just published a new sustainable guide provide sensible steps for venues to reduce waste.”