Zero-Waste Marketing

Let’s re-cap the basic facts, okay?

  • The average flyer weighs about 6 grams.

  • This year at the Fringe there were over 4,300 shows.

  • The Fringe recommends shows ‘think in the low thousands’ when ordering flyers.

Taking the lowest possible end estimate of that – that shows average at just 1,000 flyers each – let’s now do the maths.

6 x 4,300 x 1,000 = 25,8000,000 grammes = 25.8 tonnes

There are nearly 26 tonnes of paper waste generated at the Fringe from flyers alone – at a very low end estimate. In reality, anecdotal evidence suggests we’re looking at an average of closer to 5,000 flyers per show. Which would put the amount of paper waste generated. From flyers ALONE. At almost 130 tonnes.

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So, at the Greenhouse this year, we set out to show that generating all that paper waste isn’t the only way to successfully market your shows. And with over 2,000 tickets sold and over 160,000 engagements through our social media, we think we might be on to something. Here are just some examples of what we got up to. Feel free to nick them – or use them to make other, new and crazy ideas!

If you’re thinking about joining the revolution and helping to make the Fringe a greener place…well, you’re in luck! We’re currently recruiting for a new Head of Marketing and Deputy Head of Marketing to join The Greenhouse’s team. Click here to head to the Greenhouse’s website and find out more about these awesome roles!

  1. Tablets

The most direct comparison between what we did and typical marketing techniques was our use of tablets. We bought 6, second-hand Samsung Note tablets which our street team used on the Royal Mile throughout the Fringe. These tablets served two purposes – firstly, they allowed our street team to connect to a page on our website, where audience members could input their email and be immediately sent a copy of our electronic brochure. Potential audiences then had all the information they could possibly want about The Greenhouse – its location, our shows, our workshop schedule – available to them at the touch of a button.

Secondly, the tablets had two pages of the brochure downloaded on them – a map to the venue, and our listings information. Potential audience members who didn’t want to give their email could simply take a photo with their phone of both of these images on the tablet. That way, they had all the information they needed to come and see shows at The Greenhouse!

It’s worth noting that we spent £120 to buy these 6 tablets – far less money than we spent ordering flyers for our 10-day run at the Fringe in 2018.

  1. Recycling

What is the opposite of generating tonnes of paper waste by ordering lots of flyers? Making sure those flyers that are purchased get recycled, of course! As well as the tablets, our street team was armed with three used wheelie bins. Passers-by were invited to recycle any flyers that they were finished with in our dedicated bins – we then ensured that all of these flyers were recycled.

This was a really fantastic way of starting a conversation with audience members – most people at the Fringe aren’t used to you approaching them and asking if they want YOU to take THEIR flyers!

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  1. Quality over Quantity

This is kind of not really a strategy so much as something we noticed as the Fringe went on. The biggest issues with flyers is how they operate as a call to action. Is a flyerer’s job to get people to come and see a show? Or is it to hand out flyers? What are they asking that passer-by to do? In theory, it’s definitely the former, but in reality at the Fringe it often becomes the latter. In the craziness of everyone yelling and trying to drum up an audience, it becomes almost second nature to fall back on the fact that if a passer-by didn’t stop to talk to you, at least they took a flyer.

Undoubtedly, we were in contact with far fewer people than we would have been if we were handing out flyers. However, we found that our conversion between people-we-speak-to and people-who-buy-tickets was also much higher than it had been in the past. By doing away with the flyers, we got rid of the fall-back, meaning we were forced to actively engage people in a conversation about our project and our shows. We took the time to ensure that every member of the street-team was well informed and well educated on both, so they could spark enthusiasm in potential audience members. All of this meant we had a far lower quantity of engagement, but a much higher quality of engagement.

  1. Digital (not print)

There are a lot of opportunities for different types of advertisements at The Fringe. In the past, we have taken out a number of different print and digital ads. This year, we transitioned completely to digital adverts. It’s not only a very simple change, but an obvious one considering that this project in particular was targeting younger audiences, who tend to spend more time online anyway. We advertised on various websites, including the Fringe website, and a number of different publications.

One area of compromise we did make here was appearing in the Fringe brochure – each of our 8 individual shows had its own listing in the Fringe Brochure. At the moment, we are researching the marketing implications of not appearing in the print brochure, but electing to appear only in the digital brochure. We will share our findings!

  1. Social

We are a young company, so we hope we have a fairly strong grasp on advertising through social media. As well as a strong social media presence – ensuring that all of our social platforms are regularly updated with good content, and that those platforms are more geared towards content creation than just flogging tickets – we spent money on advertising through social media. This took up a very significant part of the job of our Head of Marketing (about half of her time). It’s not something to be sniffed at, and we found it was very worth putting the time in to.

A significant proportion of our target demographic are heavily influenced in their buying habits through social media. The level of engagement and referrals that we received to our website through our social presence showed this to have been an effective stategy and use of time.

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Well, there we have it, the key strategies that we used to deliver an effective zero-waste marketing campaign at the Edinburgh Fringe 2020! Found that interesting? Got questions about how it worked? Want to chat about it? Well, you can contact us here if you fancy a chat. And of course, if you want to help make our zero-waste marketing campaign even more kick-ass for next year, remember we’re currently recruiting for a new Head of Marketing and Deputy Head of Marketing! With these roles, we’re very much looking for passion and drive over experience, so if you care about the environment and how theatre can help protect it, send us an application by heading to our website here!

The 5 Best Things about Working with The Greenhouse

Last summer, BoxedIn Theatre created The Greenhouse – the first ever zero-waste performance venue that the UK has ever seen. It’s mission was simple – we wanted to demonstrate that living and creating sustainably is easier than most people think. We sparked discussion and debate around climate change through our shows, while using our programme of workshops to provide practical skills on living and working sustainably.

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But you know all that right? You’ve seen it all over our website and our social media. You’re here for the nitty gritty aren’t you? The real benefits. The proper reasons to join The Greenhouse team. Can’t blame you – I mean, it looks so awesome already, there are bound to be some more perks! We’ve put together a list of the top 5 things about working with The Greenhouse.

If they seem exciting and you feel like you just can’t hold back from working with us – good news! We’re currently recruiting for a new Head of Marketing and Deputy Head of Marketing. Applications close at 23:59 on Thursday 31st of October (just over a week) – click here to go to the “Work With Us” section of our website and find out more!

  1. The planet’s dying.

Wow no holding back there huh? Yes, as it turns out, we’re doing some pretty bad damage to the environment at the moment. The IPCC predicted in 2018 that we have between 12 and 32 years to move towards a net-zero carbon economy to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

We’re choosing to look at that as a positive though – there’s still plenty of time to make a real, deep difference. The Greenhouse is engaging artists and audiences with that process, providing practical opportunities to explore a more environmental approach in both life and work. The arts are uniquely poised to engage people with climate change, changing hearts and minds for a brighter, more sustainable future.

 

  1. It’s a space to experiment.

As the first ever zero-waste venue in the UK, The Greenhouse is breaking quite a lot of new ground. There are precedents and examples to draw on, sure, but one of the really exciting things about this is it forces us to get creative and experiment!

From our marketing strategy to our design process, even down to the way we create our shows, The Greenhouse is built upon one crazy idea, so we’re always really excited to try even more crazy ideas! If it works – great, we’ve set a precedent for something new and sustainable! If it doesn’t – great, we’ve narrowed down the field! It’s a win-win, really. The Greenhouse institutionally creates space for the amazing and talented people we work with to roll the dice. Because we’ve found that when we support that, nine times out of ten we’re coming up sixes anyway.

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  1. Talks, workshops and volunteer events!

Interested in learning more about the climate crisis and how theatre can help to stop it? Working with the Greenhouse gives you front-row access to a programme of talks and workshops from various different theatre makers and sustainability professionals throughout the planning process and when the venue is open. It’s a great way to meet more of the BoxedIn family, and to learn even more about the world around us and how we can help it!

There’s also a programme of health, well-being, and social events that we run whenever the venue is open to help make sure everyone is having a good time and feels connected to the project. Anything from pot-lucks to group walks, you can come to as many or as few as you like!

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  1. Holistic Theatre.

Making theatre about any hot topic is incredibly important. But too often have theatre makers been allowed to get away with not practicing what they preach. At BoxedIn and The Greenhouse, we’re not a huge fan of that. While we’re raising awareness for environmental issues, we’re also practicing what we preach, enacting sustainable practice at absolutely every level of our organisation.

It’s something we’ve been doing for a while, and it’s really exciting to see other young companies taking this approach as well. This way we can both spark discussion around an issue AND act as an example of best practice around that issue!

 

  1. The Bi-Annual BoxedIn Theatre Awards.

And last, but by no means least, who could forget the Bi-Annual BoxedIn Theatre Awards. Twice a year, every year, all the amazing people from the BoxedIn family get together for one absolutely colossal knees-up. Like a staff party on steroids.

It’s a chance to recognise all the amazing work that everyone has done to date, and to truly let our hair down after a few months of long hours and hard work. It includes food and drink, personalised prizes, games, and a well-earned boogie. Honestly, if you’re not joining for anything else, join for the party. It never disappoints.

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So here are our top 5 reasons to join the team for The Greenhouse and help make a really positive change both in the arts and the wider world. Sound like something you’re interested in? We’re still looking for a new Head of Marketing and Deputy Head of Marketing – get more information here!

 

 

Our Top Hacks For The Edinburgh Fringe

It’s now less than 2 weeks until the start of The Fringe, and it’s safe to say we’re all very excited! 

However, The Fringe can be intense, and especially if you’re there for the whole month you can start to lose your grip on reality. So we thought we’d help you out and prevent that from happening with our own list of tips/tricks/hacks, whatever you’d like to call them, for how to make the most of The Fringe and ensure you enjoy every second.  

Firstly, let’s start with the most important question ‘What shows should I see?’   

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Well, these are our top tips:

  • Don’t go to The Fringe and just see the big names.
  • Try and find something a bit different. 
  • If you’re stuck for ideas and overwhelmed by the huge range of shows on offer you could: – Ask people for recommendations  OR – Use the Fringe’s Imagination Machine which will generate 3 random show suggestions complete with mini previews.  
  • See something that you would never normally choose – you never know you might just be pleasantly surprised! 
  • While you should definitely make sure you plan to see the shows you really want to see, also don’t be afraid to take a day just to wander around the city and go and see things spontaneously. 

That’s great, now I have my list of shows I want to see, but ‘how can I save my money for these shows?’    

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Well firstly:  

  • Prepare for the expense – You can do The Fringe on the cheap. There are plenty of fab Free Fringe Shows and you can save your paid shows for the ones you really want to see. However, you should go into this with your eyes wide open. Everything costs more than you thought you would. The Fringe is great, but also expensive.   

It’s not all doom and gloom however, there are ways to save those pennies!: 

  • Eat in rather than going out for every meal. 
  • Notes for participants: 1. Some bars and clubs will give you a fringe card. Revs did one one year and it gave you £1 shots (what a bargain!). 2. Get a participant’s pass from Fringe Central at Appleton Tower. This is a Free Fringe branded lanyard that allows you access to the Fringe Central Networking and other events. (Additional FYI: Lots of people around the city will give you discounts if you’re wearing it).   

That’s fab! But what else can I do to make my Fringe experience the best it possibly can be? Funny you should ask! Here you go!   

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Miscellaneous tips on how to have a good Fringe: 

  • DO NOT BE AFRAID to go to shows on your. It’s not weird, it’s not awkward, and why should you miss out just because none of your friends want to go with you
  • Pack light, and make sure all your things are well organised. You’re going to be living out of your suitcase for a month, so you’re not going to want too much washing but you also want to ensure you will be able to find all your belongings!
  • Make sure you give yourself time to get from one show to another. You don’t want to have to run through the streets of Edinburgh, it’s not pleasant! 
  • Be nice to flyerers – they have a tough job, and you can always recycle their flyers after you’ve taken them! 
  • Always have a raincoat on you – Edinburgh weather is temperamental at best. 
  • Don’t be afraid to carve out time for yourself. The Fringe is a lot, and you will be surrounded by people constantly. While this is lovely for the most part, there is nothing wrong with needing to have a bit of ‘me time’ to replenish your inner introvert.   

There you go, everything we think you need to know about how to survive and thrive at The Fringe! We can’t wait to see you at The Greenhouse in less than two weeks!!!

 

 

 

Three Things To Consider For An Ocean-Friendly Lifestyle

On Wednesday, the wonderful Caroline Duncan (GOES’s marine biologist) and Dr Stephanie Terreni Brown (co-director of GOES) sat down with our Artistic Director Oli Savage for a super fun and informative chat. (Don’t worry if you missed it, you can catch it here! – insert link).

We all learnt many, many things. But our main take home was that everyone can do their bit to make our oceans cleaner. So, in the spirit of this, here’s our take on three ways to change your lifestyle to make it more ocean-friendly.

1.Eat in a way that reduces your carbon footprint.  

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A study by Oxford University in 2018 found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the biggest way to reduce your impact on earth’ and that giving up beef will reduce your carbon footprint more than stopping driving cars. The results of this study and others which have come to similar results has prompted many environmentally-conscious individuals to shun meat and dairy in favour of a plant-based diet. In Great Britain, for example, the number of vegans quadruped from 2014 to 2018.

Now, we’re not saying you have to go vegan. What people chose to eat or not eat is entirely down to them. However, cutting down on your meat and dairy consumption will have undeniable, positive effects on the cleanliness of our oceans. Not just because decreased consumption of animal products will result in less CO2 emissions. But also because less demand for meat and dairy will result in less livestock – which has a surprising benefit.

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Water supplies are not only polluted by agricultural practices, there are also contaminated by the animals themselves. Say, for example, that a farmer is grazing their cows in a field where there is a stream. Well it stands to reason that the cows will at some point walk over to the stream and ‘do their business’, polluting said stream. In other words, less meat and dairy = less animals = less excrement in our water sources. (Sounds like a winner to us!).

2. Think about the water footprint of food.

Dr Stephanie Terreni Brown highlighted a factor during our livestream which we think deserves a bit more attention: when it comes to preserving the health of our oceans, we do not only have to think about our carbon footprint, but our water footprint too!

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How do we go about reducing our water footprint then?

Well, there are simple solutions like turning the tap off while you brush your teeth and taking shorter showers. There are, however, other factors you can take into consideration. The production of products such as rice, cotton, and almonds are huge water drains. Therefore, in order to reduce our water footprint we should also consider reducing the consumption of products that have a big water footprint.

3. Think before you bin/flush. 

Finally, we want to address our throw-away attitudes. In an era of fast food, fast fashion, and fast cars we’re all very used to having something, discarding it, and moving onto the next one. It’s been well-publicised that this kind of attitude has seriously negative effects on the environment. What’s not often publicised, however, is the specific effects this has on our water sources.

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When you put something in the bin, the bin man takes it away and it ends up in landfill. Yes, this is obviously bad for the landscape. But the landfill leachate (or ‘bin juice’) that is created from landfills pollute our rivers and streams, which in turn pollutes our oceans. So, think before you buy something you know has to go to landfill. Do you want to contribute to the creation of even more stinky bin juice?

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Another way you can ensure your waste products don’t pollute our water sources is by disposing of unused medicines safely. It’s quite common for us to throw medicines we no longer need down the toilet because it is easy, convenient, and doesn’t make a mess. However, when these pharmaceuticals go through sewage treatment works, they are not filtered out, meaning they end up polluting our oceans. (Sad reacts only please) So, rather than flushing your unused medicines down the toilet, next time take them to your local pharmacy and ask for them to be disposed of safely? Then you can ensure that no lovely ocean creature will be harmed because of your cold.

 

There we have it. Just a couple of little tips to help you live a more ocean-friendly lifestyle. We hope this blog will help to prompt small lifestyle changes and give you the information necessary to start asking questions about what else we can do to clean up our oceans!

These questions can (probably) all be answered by the wonderful team behind The GOES Foundation and Clean Water Wave. So head on over to their websites if you want to find out more, and stay tuned for even more collaborations between us as we come ever closer to the start of The Fringe!

 

 

The Global Water and Sanitation Crisis

We’ve been telling you all about the amazing work that Clean Water Wave does this week, so now it’s time to enrich your water knowledge to help us all understand quite how significant their work is. Partnering with these guys has dramatically opened our eyes to the global water and sanitation crisis, and we hope that you guys feel as inspired and passionate about CWW’s work after reading this as we do!    

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These are just some of the shocking facts we have learnt: 

Now those are some pretty shocking statistics …   

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And it’s pretty evident that there is a global clean water and sanitation crisis. 

Now, stats like that can awaken a natural instinct to do something, to act and make a difference. There is just one problem in this noble response, the majority of us do not possess the knowledge, skills, expertise, or resources to actually do anything ourselves.  

There are, however, some people who do not have these obstacles to overcome, and they include our friends at Clean Water Wave! Their CAFE (Clean Aqua For Everyone) water filter systems are long lasting, durable, and sustainable systems which deliver clean drinking water to rural and peri-urban communities across Asia and Africa. We’ve spoken before about how in awe we are of the work that these guys do. But when we place their work in the context of the clean water and sanitation crisis, we can see how through working with such a great organisation we are able to do something which can really, truly make positive, life-changing impacts in people’s lives.   

 

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Clean water is something that we are all, at some point, guilty of taking for granted. To live under the constant pressure of not having regular and easy access to water must be an unimaginable stress. And it’s horrifically unjust that in a global society where a select few have so much that so many people are denied basic resources they need to survive. Which is why we’re so passionate and excited about working with CWW as they can truly make a difference! 

If you want to do you bit to tackle the water and sanitation crisis, then head over to Clean Water Wave’s website to find out more about the organisation and what you can do to support their life-changing work. 

 

Sustainable at heart

Our awesome partners over at Clean Water Wave are doing important work every day.

One of the main things we love about them is how they put sustainability at the heart of their work. It’s not just about providing clean water, it’s about providing long term solutions for clean water. Solutions that can last for a very long time, and can support whole communities far in to the future.

That’s an attitude we really admire – because, as it turns out, thinking about things from a sustainable and long-term mindset doesn’t just help them out. It helps to make the world a better place. And of course, we love that.

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But how does that work? How do they go about thinking sustainably? And how has it impacted them? All great questions – why don’t we let them tell you. And hey, maybe that will help you understand why we’re so obsessed with them…

So, Clean Water Wave. Neat name – remind us what you do exactly?

You know by now that we’re a social enterprise and we love clean water. You might also know that our water treatment system is called the Clean Aqua For Everyone (CAFÉ_, and that it’s designed to be robust and super sustainable. As you can see, it’s a pretty big piece of machinery, and it’s really created to last!

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Obviously that’s awesome. Why is sustainability a part of that for you?

For our small team, it’s really important that the impact we make isn’t just a one off. Clean water never stops being important, so we don’t want to make a piece of equipment that will work for a short time and then break. That can have a really negative impact on the communities in which we work. For us, that means it’s essential for us to think sustainably – think long term.

And how do you implement that sustainability?

Essentially, when building CWW and creating the CAFÉ systems, we had three key things to bear in mind.

  • We have to get the right design for the water treatment system. That means a machine that’s sturdy and won’t just break.
  • We have to build and source from the right materials. Strong materials, and sustainable materials.
  • We have to work in partnership with communities, and with organisations that take a long-term view to improving livelihoods.

We have a lot of experience working in low income communities and know that getting the technology right is just part of the equation. Yes, it’s important – vitally important – to design and manufacture something that works and is robust. But CWW is more than just the physical things we build. Everything we buy and use has an impact, and it’s important to us that we ensure that impact is a positive one. That means keeping a close eye on our suppliers. We want to ensure they understand our mission, and have good business practices such as not using child labour.

You mentioned partnering with communities too. Why is that important?

Relationships with communities are essentially to making a lasting positive impact, wherever we work. Just turning up and installing water systems might help in the short term, but they won’t really reach their full potential. Ensuring that our work is fully transparent means that community members are engaged and on board, so that they can manage their water systems in to the future.

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That’s why – rather than jump straight into implementing an international project – we are spending a lot of time researching best practice in international development, learning from those that do it well and from those who recognise they could do better.

It’s also why we are working with great partners, in the UK and internationally, to get the right fit, to ensure a long-term approach to clean water for communities.

Are there any other ways you’re approaching that community aspect?

We’re actually set up as a social enterprise, which is a little different from a normal business. It basically meant that profit from the sales of our water treatment systems is ploughed into doing our homework, and getting the right approach for community development. That’s opposed to just generating more and more profit for personal gain, like a typical company. We think that’s really important because it shows that we have faith in the system, and it also means we can grow and improve to create even more exciting and sustainable ways of making clean water!

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And finally, if you could sum up the idea of sustainable, clean water…

To make clean water in a way that improves health, livelihoods, and the environment for the long term.

Well, we hope you’ve fallen in love with CWW all over again. Remember to check out their website for more information or if you have any questions!

 

Why we’re so excited to be partnering with GOES and CWW!

In case you missed it (although for that to happen it would mean that you weren’t following us on either Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram , so get on that now!) we’re partnering with the GOES Foundation and Clean Water Wave during this year’s Fringe. We’re so thrilled to have this wonderful opportunity, and we want you to be as hyped about it as we are.

Now, we’re not silly here at BoxedIn. We appreciate that two amazing organisations which both promote the environmental importance of cleaning our oceans and provide water filtration systems to remote communities, and a slightly wacky, boundary-pushing theatre company might not seem like an obvious match. But here’s why we believe this partnership will work so well, and why we’re both really excited for the adventure that will be The Edinburgh Fringe!

We’re both passionate about tackling the climate crisis     

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This is probably the most obvious linking factor between our two organisations. Although we’re both approaching the problem from different angles, we both have the same objective: to limit the effects of climate change and prevent irreversible damage to our environment.

There are many different contributors to climate change, and consequently there are many different ways to tackle the problem. And this is part of the reason why we believe The Greenhouse has the potential to really make a difference, because we offer an open, non-confrontational space to discuss the many aspects of eco-activism. To have the privilege of having GOES and CWW with us right from the beginning really kicks the doors open to allow us to get these important conversations rolling right from the off!

We can learn a lot from them    

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What’s so great about having open conversations  is that you can see things from other people’s view, and you can also learn a lot from their experience and knowledge. Now it’s safe to say that the GOES and CWW team have an impressive amount of knowledge between them. (Their doctorates and MBAs put our paltry undergraduate degrees to shame!) And we’re looking forward to learning all about how important the ocean is to the protection of our environment, and what we can all do to protect our oceans!

Hey, and maybe we could give them some acting tips if, on the very slight off chance, we awaken their inner thespian and they decide to make a career change!  

(Disclaimer; We do NOT want this to happen. The whole GEOS and CWW team are brilliant and have absolutely nothing to learn from us. They are also doing very important work and should definitely keep doing that!)

We’re excited to do something different     

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How many Fringe venues have you heard of being made out of entirely recycled and reclaimed materials?

None? We thought so.

How many Fringe venues have you heard of that are running an entirely zero-waste marketing campaign?

None? We thought so.   

How many Fringe venues have you heard of that are operating without any mains electricity?

None? We thought you’d say that too!

In case you haven’t realised by now, at The Greenhouse (and BoxedIn in general) we like to do things that are a bit different. Not just for the sake of being different, don’t get us wrong, but because in order to really make a differen-ce you have to do something differen-t (see what we tried to do there!). By fusing our two companies together in our unique little venue, we hope to create a place that is different, exciting, interesting, informative, and so many other adjectives, and in doing so create a space in which we can really start to enact change!

We think it will be fun!      

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Finally, not most importantly, but nearly as important to us as a team, we think this partnership will be fun. For us (and everyone attending it – hopefully) the main point of attending The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is to have fun!

We may be trying to tackle a serious problem, but we don’t think that means that we can’t have fun doing it. You know like when a medical professional says that you need to exercise and the best way to do that is by finding an exercise that you enjoy? Well, that’s what we’re hoping to do at The Greenhouse, if you will indulge that awful comparison. But instead of trying to cure an individual’s ailment, we’re trying to help prevent climate change! We really hope that engaging in the environmental activism debate from a fun angle will really allow us to connect with our audiences and actually make a difference.    

Performance is fun, the GOES and CWW team are crazy enough to agree to partner with us, and we’re all going to be at the largest performing arts festival in the world. How could this be anything but a super exciting and inspiring project?  

If you’re looking forward to our partnership with GOES and CWW as much as we are then head on over to their websites now to learn more about the companies and the awesome work they do!   

 

Introducing The GOES Foundation

Did you know that more than 70% of our oxygen comes from the oceans?

And most of our carbon dioxide? It’s absorbed by the oceans as well, used by tiny plants floating in the water called phytoplankton. This – not the Amazon, or any other land-based forests – this is the planet’s main carbon sink.

These tiny plants collect whopping amount of carbon dioxide – we estimate around 12 gigatonnes of it every year! So it’s a bit of a shock to the system to learn that over the last 60 years, the amount of plankton in the oceans has halved. That means the amount of Carbon Dioxide that can be absorbed by the oceans has decreased significantly, leaving it to wreak havoc in the atmosphere.

The question, of course, is why? Increasing temperatures and an abundance of Carbon Dioxide should be an absolute field day for plankton the world over – we would expect them to flourish under these conditions. But they’re not.

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Enter the GOES foundation, an international organisation that works hard to raise awareness for the importance of keeping our oceans clean. They’ve got a pretty convincing argument – micro-plastics and toxic chemicals being dumped in to the oceans, which are crippling for most types of plankton. More horrible stuff in our ocean leads to less plankton. Less plankton leads to more CO2. More CO2 leads to more global warming. And we’re sure you can fill in the blanks from here.

So how does that work exactly? Let’s think about coral. 

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Take Oxybenzone, for example. Oxybenzone is a chemical commonly found in many different types of sunscreen. Just like many other toxic chemicals, it often gets absorbed and concentrated on tiny plastic particles (micro-fibres from synthetic clothing, micro-beads, that kind of thing). As the plastic absorbs more and more of these types of chemicals, it becomes completely coated and even more toxic. And corals, being none-the-wiser, grab that particle, thinking it’s food. That’s a big problem.

The coral gets inoculated with a huge dose of Oxybenzone, which it is not at all equipped to break down. The reason this chemical is so prevalent in sun blocks is because…well…it’s really good at blocking out sunlight. So it reacts with the coral in exactly the same way the sun block protects you from getting burned. The corals can’t absorb any more sunlight, which quickly leads to a stress reaction, and coral bleaching.

Normally, coral can survive temperatures up to 32 degees celcius. The stressed coral can now be killed by temperatures as low as 28 degrees. That may not seem like a huge difference, but considering that just a 5 degree change in global temperatures is considered enough to totally wipe out human civilisation as we know it, it kind of makes sense.

In Florida, 90% of the coral is dead already, and the situation is similar across the world’s coral reefs.

Unless we stop aquatic pollution, the remaining coral will be dead in 10 years.

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Coral reefs are critically important to supporting all aquatic life in our oceans: they are a source of food, they protect land from erosion, and provide nursery space for tiny fish.

The time has come for us to seriously re-think our habits, and how we interact with our oceans. They are the real lungs of our planet, and support the vast majority of life on earth. We hate to say it, but if we continue the way we are, things are looking quite bleak.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however! The fate of the oceans is not yet signed and sealed – and even with small, incremental changes, we as individuals can make a huge contribution towards securing a healthy and sustainable future. Restoring the productivity of plankton and plants in our oceans would mean a total of 24 gigatonnes of CO2 can be absorbed by the oceans each year. Of course, there are other measures to be taken, but this would be a huge step towards a carbon neutral world!

Amazing, where do I sign up!

In case you missed our live-stream with Stephanie Terreni-Brown, the co-founder of GOES, there are three key things that you can do to help restore oceanic health.

  1. Oxybenzone – oxybenzone is commonly found in sunscreen and any products with an SPF. BUT not all suncreens and cosmetics contain Oxybenzone. Check the labels on the products you buy, and make sure to avoid this at all cost. If you’re wondering what chemicals might be less bad in your sunscreen, take a look at this handy chart GOES made.
  2. Micro-plastics – micro-beads have been banned in the UK (horray) but you may have some still sitting around in your bathroom. If you do, get rid of them! And as for micro-fibres, the solution is simple: when buying clothes, make sure to priorities items made from natural materials.
  3. Triclosan – this is commonly found in toothpaste and other cosmetics. Again, now you know, you know! Make sure to avoid products with this ingredient in it, there are plenty of alternatives out there!

And, if you’re looking for something a little extra, there’s something else you can do too. Part of the problem of chemicals in our water systems is down to inadequate treatment facilities. Tertiary treatment facilities treat waste water to remove chemicals, and there is a shocking lack of that in the UK. To implement it requires government investment and intervention. So, write to your MPs, demanding more oversight on this issue. We want cleaner water! We want to help our planet’s health! Only by being active together can we hope to help create a more positive future for our climate and our earth.

 

 

Clean Water and The Greenhouse

As you may have gathered from our exciting week about all things oceanic, we are very excited to be putting clean water and oceanic health at the heart of The Greenhouse’s sustainability mission. Learning about how safe drinking water can be so closely related to preventing climate change has been so interesting to us, thanks, of course, to our partnership with Clean Water Wave and the GOES foundation.

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What you may NOT know about, however, is all the awesome events that we will be running with them over the next few months and during The Fringe. From full residency days to organised workshops and casual drop-ins, we’ll be taking every opportunity to share their wealth of knowledge about everything we can do to preserve the planet’s health. If you want a taster of the kind of wisdom we’re talking – head to our Facebook page and check out our live-stream with their director and co-founder Dr Stephanie Terreni-Brown. And then check out all these awesome things we’ve got lined up with them for the next few months!

Days in Residency

Tuesdays throughout August will see Clean Water Wave and the GOES Foundation taking up residency in The Greenhouse. They will be hosting a wide variety of events, including workshops and informal discussions. So pop down to meet some of the CWW team and chat to them about the amazing work they do and how you can get involved. If you’ve got any burning questions about what they’re doing (and you haven’t already hit them up on Twitter or Facebook) this is a great place to ask!

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Co-Organised Workshops

As well as our standard programme of workshops, we’ll be working with CWW and GOES to create a series of bespoke themed workshops. Looking for a practical space to learn about oceanic health and what you can do to help make the planet healthier? Or thinking more about how safe drinking water can have a direct effect on slowing down climate change? Then these will be perfect for you! Just head to our workshops page to have a look at everything we have on offer.

AMA Table

But what if you just want to know about Clean Water Wave and the GOES Foundation NOW?! We understand, we wouldn’t want to wait any longer to hear about these amazing people either – but not to fear! Every day at The Greenhouse, you’ll be able to find one of our fabulous team members sat at our Ask Me Anything table. Got a question about your contribution to non-toxic environments? Or wondering just how Clean Water Wave go about making their innovatively sustainable water treatment systems? We’ve got you covered. And if we don’t quite know the answer, we’ll submit your questions to Clean Water Wave themselves via Twitter, where they’ll get you back directly!

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Live Streams

We hope you enjoyed our live stream from last Thursday with Dr Stephanie Terreni-Brown, where we discovered way more about Clean Water Wave and the GOES foundation. She also shared some top tips for a non-toxic summer! Well, we enjoyed it so much that we’re going to be doing plenty more – keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page for opportunities to submit questions or topics for discussion. Our next stream will be coming up in July – don’t worry, we’ll keep you updated when it’s coming up.

Content Content Content!

The amazing work that CWW and the GOES foundation are doing is spread out across the globe – and across the internet. We’ll be sharing updates about their new projects and just how they’re spreading the message of clean water and oceanic health everywhere they go. Wanting to keep up to date? We’ll be pulling out the highlights, and you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for even more updates!

Water and sustainability

Water is critical to planetary health

Okay, so you know by now that we’re pretty keen on the environment. We’ve been talking about shopping sustainably, and even throwing loads of sustainability-themed events. What can we say. We’re obsessed.

But something that we’ve only just realised is a lot of this dialogue is…well…it’s kind of land based. And considering that 71% of the planet is covered in water, we’re thinking it might be time to broaden our horizons a little.

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We’re very excited to be partnering with Clean Water Wave and the GOES Foundation to help place water at the centre of our sustainability and climate goals this Fringe. Over the next few weeks and months we’ll be talking more about the awesome work that they do, and why clean water is essential for not just our health, but the health of the planet too!

Introducing the Clean Water Wave

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One of our two partners for this year’s Fringe is Clean Water Wave – a Scottish social enterprise that is flipping the status quo of water treatment. Typically, water treatment requires a LOT of energy, chemicals, and technical expertise. That means it can be unaffordable for many low income communities across the world – even in Scotland!

See here’s the thing with water…

Just because it looks clean and clear doesn’t mean it is safe to drink. Groundwater (water that is deep below the surface) is often assumed to be free from bacteria and other contaminants because it looks cleaner than pond or river water. But other contaminants, such as arsenic, may be present.

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Arsenic in groundwater is common in many countries and is naturally occurring; for example, arsenic is very commonly found in groundwater across the Ganges and Brahmaputra river deltas in South Asia. Drinking this arsenic water over a long period of time results in cancers, skin lesions, developmental defects, diabetes, neurotoxicity and heart problems. Using arsenic contaminated water to irrigate food crops and for animals also means arsenic enters the food chain, too.

Or, to look a little closer to home, Cocaine and Ketamine were recently found in every single shrimp tested from a batch collected in Suffolk.

And here’s the thing with water treatment…

It’s often wildly unsustainable. The CWW team have seen lots of water projects that are well intentioned but that simply aren’t built to last. That means that money is spent on, for example, a water pump for a community to get drinking water – which is great! Only for the pump to fail because no one is responsible for its upkeep, or the community can’t afford to repair it, or can’t easily get hold of the right equipment to fix it. The pump is left in a state of disrepair. So, simply, there’s no water for that community.

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Treating water sustainably

That’s not ideal. Obviously. Which is why Clean Water Wave’s work is so ground-breaking. With a small team of water scientists and community engagement specialists, they have developed an innovative water treatment system that can clean 50,000L every day – using solar energy, and without using chemicals and moving parts. Just a perfect example of what happens when we put sustainability and longevity at the centre of our thought process.

Clean Water Wave has been set up in response to both of these issues. Their CAFE filtration system ensures that the quality of the water it filters is genuinely safe for human consumption.

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Water and social enterprise

The #CleanAquaForEveryone water treatment system is the answer to sustainable decentralised water provision for community scale. And alongside this new technology, CWW have created a business model to ensure these systems can keep running well in to the future, no matter where they are.

CWW’s social enterprise model means that all of their profits and assets are used for socially and environmentally beneficial projects and not for personal benefit. Any surplus CWW makes as a company is returned to further our goals to have 10million people drinking truly clean and safe water over the next ten years.

Get in touch!

If you’ve got any questions about drinking water, pollutants, social enterprises, or community development, get in touch with the Clean Water Wave team – they’d love to hear from you!

They will also be with us throughout the Festival, so keep a look out for our programme.

Email:             hello@cleanwaterwave.com

Twitter:           @cleanwaterwave

Web:              https://cleanwaterwave.com