How to flyer more sustainably

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Alice Boyd

Reduce the environmental impact of your show by following our top tips for flyering more sustainably.

So, you want your show to be more environmentally sustainable, but you also need to put bums on seats… This can be a tricky situation, especially if you’re trying to make your show stand out from the crowd. At festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe, flyering has become not only a popular marketing technique, but a tradition, making it seem almost impossible to avoid the practice.

Our top tips to flyering more sustainably can help you reduce your impact, as well as spread the word about your show!

1. Take A Photo (it'll last longer)

Let’s face it, how many of us truly sift through the pile of flyers given to us at festivals like the Edinburgh Fringe? It’s rare that we see the shows unless the flyer-er was really engaging. More often than not, we rely on word of mouth. Why not encourage potential audience members to take a photo of your flyer instead? They’ll be more likely to remember you later when they go back through their photos.

This year at the Edinburgh Fringe, we’re encouraging people to join our Take A Photo campaign. Add one of our campaign graphics to your paper marketing and prompt people to take a photo of your flyers and posters. Post an image of your flyers on social media with the hashtags '#StagingChange, #SustainableFringe' and we'll make sure to share!

If you’re a Fringe-goer, you can also get involved by taking photos of any flyers you’re offered. Why not post them on social media with the hashtag Take A Photo to spread the word about shows you like.

2. Recycle that flyer

So, your flyer has ended up in the hands of a potential audience member… however, this is not the end of the its journey. More likely than not, at some point it will end up being thrown away. The key to reducing your impact at the end of your flyer’s life is to nudge the recipient to recycle it. This can be done in two key ways:

  1. Make sure your flyer is actually recyclable. Some glossy paper, such as photo paper, cannot be recycled due to a thin layer of polythene. Ask your printers which paper can be recycled and if feasible, go for those without a plastic coating.

  2. If your flyer is recyclable, add our ‘Recycle Me’ graphic to your flyer. By putting this on your paper marketing, you are increasing the chances that it ends up in the right bin. We’d love to see your flyers with our Recycle Me graphic on them. Post a photo on social media with the hashtags ‘#StagingChange, #SustainableFringe’ and we’ll retweet!

3. Print more sustainably

Julie’s Bicycle recommends using paper made from ‘post-consumer waste’ - this is paper that has been used already and recycled to produce new paper. If this is not possible, they recommend using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper. This type of paper comes from forests which are protected and maintained with the highest conservation values. For more information about paper and the environment, read Julie's Bicycle's factsheet here.

You can also explore alternative ways of printing flyers. Risograph printing is a more eco-friendly method than traditional printing. While it is limited in the number of colours it can use, Edinburgh-based printing social enterprise, Out of the Blueprint, says it's the most eco-friendly and energy efficient form of printing on the planet. For more information about print and the environment, read Julie's Bicycle's factsheet here.

We're partnering with Out of the Blueprint, for Edinburgh Fringe 2019. Out of the Blueprint is offering Staging Change network members a 10% discount when they print using their eco-friendly RISO printer. Find out how to receive the discount here.

4. Reduce your print run

Shows often order several thousand copies of their flyer for the Edinburgh Fringe. While some production companies do get through them all, many groups end up with boxes of unused and unopened flyers at the end of the month. Instead of ordering all of the flyers at once, try buying a smaller number first. You can always order more flyers later. By focusing on the quality (rather than quantity) of your interactions with Fringe-goers, you will improve the chances of people coming to see your show.

5. Get networking!

The best way for people to hear about your show is by building up word of mouth around it. This may be before the Fringe, by building a strong social media presence and by sending around a press release to media outlets, or it might be by going to meet people at events and meeting spots around the festival. These interactions can be just as important (if not more), than those with your physical flyers.

Let us know how you get on with these tips! Get in touch if you have any ideas or share your greener marketing with us on social media @StagingChange, #StagingChange, #SustainableFringe.

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