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The Paper Monster stomps into Edinburgh

PapermonstAt this time of the year I absolutely love life in my little corner of the world. The Edinburgh Festival has rolled in and the hit of creative energy you experience walking the streets of Edinburgh during the Festival (should really be termed festivals as it also encapsulates books, films, arts etc.) is immense. Gifted street performers mingle with outlandishly attired show promoters resulting in an eclectic cocktail of colour, pageant and raw talent. Seriously if you’re looking for a dose of ‘off the wall’ inspiration then just spending a hour or two wandering around the event arena will top up your creativity tank for a whole year 

Sadly as amazingly spectacular as the Edinburgh Festival is, it does carry Leaflet01with it a dark secret behind its theatrical mask – it’s also a paper monster with an insatiable appetite! The amount of show flyers that get thrust in your hand as you stroll around is mind-blowing. And if that isn't bad enough every inch of pedestrian tunnel, abandoned shop (the ones that don’t have a ‘all bill posters will be prosecuted’ notice :o) ) and building site fencing is plastered in show advertisment posters.

It's annoying but can one really be so hard on the show promoters as the picture below would suggest? (honestly I didn't knock the guy over in a fit of paperless rage :o) ) The promoters are after all in stiff competition with one another, trying to get exposure for their show, and even I’ve got to admit that their ceaseless bombardment of advertising DOES add greatly to the colour and spectacle of the event.


No the answer doesn’t lie with trying to blame the show promoters or worse suggesting that paper is eliminated altogether from the Festival, that’s impossible and plain silly to even suggest such a thing, but there are a few ways that those involved can greatly reduce the amount of paper that the Festival Monster consumes:

Fringecolumns * Show promoters could be more selective when handing out their flyers. Do they need to feed a leaflet to every member in a family/group? I love their enthusiasm in doing so but I think they're going a little too far :o)
* The Festival organisers construct columns so that promoters can paste their show posters. I love these as they add splashes of colour and vibrancy to the event area but do they need to have countless posters promoting the same show? Well in order to stand out from all of the other multi-copy advertisements then yes they probably do. However if the Festival organisers restricted promoters to pasting only one advertisement per column then the need to ‘out poster’ each other would be gone.
* The council attempts to avoid littering (it’s also an offence in Edinburgh) by placing large wheeled bins around the event areas. I’m guessing that the majority of flyers end up in these bins and then head to land fill. A better solution would surely be to strategically position paper recycling bins at the same location (with a thin slot so only paper fits into them) so at least an attempt is being made to re-address the balance of so much paper use.
* Joe Public can of course help too. If handed a flyer for a show they’re not interested in then they should politely hand it back again instead of dropping it in a bin only a few steps away.

* Tony Blair could be a little Leaflet05blair more helpful too by NOT spending his summer holidays handing out show leaflets in Edinburgh :o)

I apologise if my little ‘paper rant’ at the Edinburgh Festival seems unnecessary and a bit picky but I don’t think it is. Many of us spend a lot of our time reducing paper use and recycling on a daily basis but our efforts are somewhat negated by these paper driven events. However my iLeaflet02ntent isn’t simply to bemoan the efforts of those in charge but rather to make them, and those involved in Festival promoting, think a little more about how much paper their Festival generates so they may look at ways of reducing this in the future. Hopefully if some solutions are implemented we can then all enjoy things a little bit more knowing that the paper hungry monster is a little tamer and a lot more under control.

Additional links of interest:
Edinburgh Festival Fringe - For those lucky enough to be in Edinburgh this is the one stop information site on the shows, the times and the tickets.
My Festival Pics on Flickr - This is a link to a few snapshots I've taken of the Festival




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