HebCelt Recycling success

Marina Fraser, Zero Waste Scotland, and first Recycle and Reward winner William Donner.
Marina Fraser, Zero Waste Scotland, and first Recycle and Reward winner William Donner.

One of the major talking points about the Festival so far has been the success of the recycle and reward machines.

The sight of children carrying sometimes 30-40 drinks containers to deposit in the recycling units in the hope of winning a prize has been an enduring image for many.

It has also amused, and encouraged, organisers to see adults queuing to buy drinks and then queuing again to recycle.

The result was the main arena in a state of relative tidiness at the end of Thursday night despite thousands of fans milling around both tents.

HebCelt is one of 12 venues in Scotland to host innovative schemes where people are given incentives for recycling drinks containers.

As well as helping the environment, festival goers can receive prizes by taking part including an iPad, iPod Nanos, a family weekend ticket for next year’s HebCelt, Festival hoodies and t-shirts and vouchers for snacks or drinks.

The first major winner was William Donner, aged 7, from North Dell in Ness, who won an iPod Nano.

Caroline MacLennan, the festival director, said “We are delighted with the success of the recycle and reward machines. They have become a big talking point and it’s something festival goers, especially the younger ones, are taking very seriously.

“It’s great to see so many people using the machines, or at least giving their containers to the eager young collectors, and it is having the desired result as the way the main arena looked at the end of Thursday night demonstrated.

“We are serious about protecting our unique environment and this is one way of helping us to become one of the greenest festival about.”

It is hoped that the local pilot projects, part of the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Scotland programme, will encourage people to recycle more and limit the amount of used drinks containers going to landfill.

It is working so far, with 1,700 drinks cups being deposited in the larger machine on Thursday night and 960 in the smaller unit.

The project is the latest green initiative by HebCelt which last month successfully graduated from the Carbon Trust Scotland’s Carbon Management programme. The festival is committed to decreasing its carbon emissions by 14 per cent by 2017 which will reduce its environmental impact and cut costs.

Marina Fraser from Zero Waste Scotland said: “The festival’s green team volunteers are not having to do so much work this year due to the success of the recycle and rewards machines and that is very encouraging. Their success has been remarkable and people are noticing the difference they are making.”