Monday, 20 August 2012

Green Issues at Edinburgh Book Festival


The Edinburgh International Book Festival has got its recycling all sorted with these well organised recycling bins, nicely colour coded for the different kinds of waste. So full marks there.

They're also signed up to the comprehensive Environmental Policy that covers all the Edinburgh Festivals. So again, full marks. 

I'm less impressed by the fact that the Book Festival and the various newspapers selling copies at the festival are all giving away cotton tote bags freely. Yes, cotton tote bags avoid plastic waste, but each cotton tote bag takes more energy to make than a plastic carrier bag. I read somewhere that you need to use a cotton tote bag 50 times or more before you actually start saving on the energy needed to make it. So cotton tote bags are only fully a good thing if you use them over and over and over. I'm guessing that a lot of people will collect several cotton tote bags from the Book Festival (and at other similar events) and then store them in a cupboard somewhere, likely in the same place where they used to store their millions of plastic bags before they realised that was a bad thing.

So, if you are going to the book festival, take your own cotton tote bag, how about the one you picked up at last year's book festival? It may not have one of this year's designs, but it probably hasn't yet got holes in it, or a broken handle.

(I have about ten cotton tote bags, most of which I've had for several years: two in my everyday handbag, one in my evening handbag. one in my rucksack, one extra strong one that I use for carrying books, one that I use for carrying recycling, one that I use for carrying my equipment when I'm out volunteering along the Water of Leith, and one on each door in the flat just in case we need one when we're rushing out the door. I also have to admit I've picked up a tote bag at each of the Film Festivals over the last two years, this is because those were fill to the brim with delegate gifts and I was too lazy to take everything out and give the bag back. Plus, in that context, the tote bag in reality is less an alternative to a plastic carrier and more an alternative to a plastic document carrier / brief case and actually needs less energy in its production than the item it's replacing.)

***

Just a reminder,  I'm appearing in Venus in Transition  at 6pm, tonight at Captains Bar. 4 South College Street, Edinburgh. This is a spoken word and musical tribute to the 70s Scottish singer songwriter Venus Carmichael, devised by Andrew C Ferguson and featuring poet Fiona Lindsay and singer Kelly Brooks.

Also at Captain's Bar, I'll be reading short stories and poetry at 6pm on 21st August (tomorrow!). Also reading will be: Rosie Bell, Mark Gilfillan, James Spence and Helen Boden.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other pages where you can find out more.

9 comments:

marly youmans said...

It is ridiculous to ride the tweet chute here because of a "wee rant about tote bags," but I like the absurdity of the ad! 50 times, huh?

Crafty Green Poet said...

marly lol, so the ad worked! 50 times is of course just once a week for a year so if you're sensible and don't stock up on cast numbers, the tote bag soon makes more environmental sense.

the cuby poet said...

Oh I love your words, rant re: tote bags. I always carry a co-op fabric bag in my day bag, it may well have been used near on 20 times so I'll keep on making it a viable alternative to plastic. Have good evenings regarding you small but not insignificant performances.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

My best wishes for your reading, it would be great if you read something somewhere at the end of the year!

Ms Sparrow said...

I have cotton tote bags that I've been using for many years. Now I hear that it can be unsanitary if they're used for different things without being washed. Sigh...

Crafty Green Poet said...

Ms Sparrow, that's why I have ten or so, so that I'm not using them for too many different things. I try to remember to wash them regularly too.

Tommasso - thanks, tonight's reading went well and there'll be another of those in October, but later in the year I'm not sure!

'Tsuki said...

Green issues end up colored, as I can see... :)

dosankodebbie said...

I've struggled with the tote bag issue myself, but I hadn't thought of the (what-seems-obvious-to-me-now) need to wash them! Interesting post. Thanks. :)

Rabbits' Guy said...

Change like that takes a long time .. How is Ireland doing? They have had plastic bags heavily surcarged for maybe 5 or 6 years now. We are not quite there yet.