A major Scottish venue has banned plastic straws and hosted a rock concert where everything could be recycled – after cracking down on waste to landfill.
The SSE Hydro in Glasgow worked with city favourites Mogwai to rid the venue of plastic straws following a public outcry over the damage they cause to the world’s oceans.
As of this month the venue will no longer use the controversial single-use items following Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series last year which highlighted the danger of plastic to marine life.
Visitors can now enjoy a completely waste-free experience after the venue was able to source recyclable straws along with its drinks vessels and food containers, which were also either compostable or recyclable. It meant the Hydro could offer a “100 per cent recyclable service for the entire evening”.
TV naturalist Sir David exposed the dangers of plastic killing marine life in a BBC1 documentary in October. The Blue Planet II show included evidence that plastic has flowed into ocean waters thousands of miles from land and featured heart-breaking scenes of albatrosses unwittingly feeding their chicks plastic.
Since then a high-profile Twitter campaign has run across Scotland – prompting a village, a ferry operator and Scotland’s biggest council to announce a crackdown on plastic straws.
Local schoolchildren used the social media #NaeStrawAtAw hashtag to encourage Glasgow City Council to ban plastic straws from 26 cafes in council museums, sports centres, offices, schools and the City Chambers.
Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) also pledged to stop offering plastic straws on its ferries and Ullapool joined the pledge following efforts from Glasgow’s Sunnyside Primary, who were on a field trip to the village.
Mogwai chose the Marine Conservation Society as its charity for the sold-out gig on December 16 and asked about waste policies at the venue. The only items which were not compostable were the drinking straws and in line with several ‘no straws’ campaigns Mogwai requested that none were served at the event.
Scottish Event Campus (SEC) workers managed to find fully compostable straws to use instead, made by eco-friendly packaging company Vegware, ensuring that everything served was fully recyclable or compostable. This has spurred the campus on to remove all plastic straws from the venue as of this month.
The Scottish Event Campus, which is home to the Hydro, recently attained the Gold Award in line with the Green Business Tourism Scheme, which increasing numbers of large venues are signing up to.
Nic Shanks from Mogwai’s Rock Action label said: “The band are looking at ways of how they can tour more environmentally responsibly and that includes asking the venues to do the same where they can.
“Plastic straws are just one of the many causes of plastic pollution in our oceans and if all venues could look at what they can do to do better, even small steps can make a big difference. It is great that the SEC recognise this and are so receptive to looking at ways they can do better.”
Mark Laidlaw, Director of Operations at the SEC, said: “This is a great achievement for such a large venue. We are working towards ensuring that the whole campus can operate on a 100% recyclable and compostable basis.
“We are nearly there, and have implemented over 15 initiatives across the campus, from wildlife to food, and are very proud of the time and effort that has been put in by our teams to achieve this.”
Plastic production is set to double in the next 20 years and quadruple by 2050. Studies have shown that more than 8m tonnes of plastic leaks into the oceans every year, and recent research found that billions of people globally are drinking water contaminated by plastic.