Thousands upon thousands of tents are abandoned at festivals each year, but it’s not just post-festival lethargy – or poor weather – that is to blame.
According to experts, many festival goers leave their tents behind because they think they will be donated to charities.
Despite some festivals advertising that leftover tents will go to philanthropic use, up to 90 per cent of tents that get left end up in landfill or the incinerator, explains Matt Wedge, director of Festival Waste Reclamation & Distribution.
Wedge says that the astounding number of tents left behind is rising, estimating that a whopping 20 per cent of the tents at this year’s Leeds Festival were abandoned, surmounting to roughly 7,000.
“Reading is usually about as bad but twice as big, so 14,000 tents could have been abandoned there,” he tells The Independent.
However, organisers at Reading and Leeds Festival, which took place over the bank holiday weekend, tell The Independent that 2018 was a record year for salvagers, with 930 individuals coming from approximately 200 voluntary and charitable organisations to collect various reusable items such as tents and sleeping bags.
While there have been efforts from festival organisers to collaborate with charities, inviting them to collect leftover tents for reuse for refugees, Moore explains that this plan has somewhat backfired.
“Unfortunately this has turned into one of those festival myths: ‘It is now alright to leave your tent because they all go to charity,’ I have found this during my ongoing research but it has become widely recognised that this has unintentionally created an even bigger problem,” she adds.
In terms of addressing the problem, he says one popular idea is to employ a tent deposit scheme, whereby festival goers would pay a deposit to bring their tent to the festival, which would be returned to them if they take their tent home.