As Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall said on a recent visit to the Fringe: ‘It’s a plastic nightmare!’ We take his point. A stroll around the various beer gardens lays bare the terrifying reality: thousands of single-use plastic drinking vessels and food containers are used for ten minutes and then casually thrown away.
Sure, some venues are trying – using compostable cups, for example – but this doesn’t challenge our disposable culture; it doesn’t change the mindset that allows us to behave this way.
We’ve been taking our own (charity shop bought) stainless steel and reusable plastic beer and wine ‘glasses’ to the bars, with varying degrees of success. Some staff have cited licensing laws that prevent them from refilling a used cup; others have been willing to serve us.
If licensing laws really are the cause of this problem, then they need to be challenged. Think about the Christmas markets, and the mulled wine bars. They charge a small deposit for a reusable mug; on return, the deposit is refunded. Why can’t Fringe venues do the same?