Case Study: Data Collection – Fringe Reuse and Recycle Days
As part of the 2014 Fringe Reuse and Recycle Days, Creative Carbon Scotland undertook some data collection at the event for the benefit and improvement of the initiative.
Running since 2009, the Fringe Reuse and Recycle Days occur at the end of each Edinburgh Festival Fringe season, and provide an opportunity for those performing individuals and production companies to donate any materials from their Fringe run that they no longer need or cannot take with them when leaving Edinburgh. Hosted in Fringe Central, all donated materials are free to be taken away by anyone visiting the space, with all remaining set/props/costumes/paper recycled at the end of the second day.
Creative Carbon Scotland was present over both days to learn more about the event, carrying out various forms of data gathering:
- Questionnaires were completed by all those donating materials to the event. These asked about the reasons for a company’s use of the days, how they had found out about it and where they came from. An example of the questionnaire can be found here.
- Throughout the event, CCS observed and took photos of what took place during the two days, including noting down what tended to be popular to donate, and what was taken away by other visitors. Click here to see our album of photos from the event.
- Figures displaying the amount and weight of materials collected for recycling (at the end of the second day) were gained from ScotWaste after the event. Paper, predominantly a result of excess flyers, often makes up the bulk of the waste recycled.
The collected data was used to produce a report and statistics on the event. As well as providing a better record of the Reuse and Recycle Days, should anyone wish to learn about it, this information also has several internal benefits for Creative Carbon Scotland and Fringe Central.
The data gathered can help:
- Improve the event – by knowing more about the patterns of donations and collection, in future years the event can be adapted to accommodate trends in donation (e.g. an increase in wood donation this year may lead to a larger wood donation space).
- Find out how effective the publicity is – in asking how participants found out about the event, we are able to understand the most effective forms of communicating with these groups.
- Provide evidence for the continuation of the event – in gaining facts and figures about the use of the Reuse and Recycle Days we are able to reaffirm its use and importance as part of the Fringe.
Gathering data on your activities, whether qualitative or quantitative in nature, is one of the first steps to improving the success and the sustainability of your events, workshops or day-to-day activities. Whether it is asking the public of their awareness of your sustainability work (such as membership of the Green Arts Initiative), measuring the number of bags of waste you dispose of every month, or asking audience members how they travelled to your venue, in collecting data you are able to use it to advance your actions!