In a world where people are increasingly becoming aware of plastic pollution and festivals are either claiming to be more environmentally conscious or trying, there is a big blind spot: tents. The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), a collection of more than 60 festivals, is asking that attendees stop leaving their tents on the grounds and add to plastic waste.
They are tackling this on two fronts. The first is with marketing by stores who sell “festival tents,” which make it seem as though they are one-time uses for that specific festival. Even if the tent is in perfectly fine shape, many attendees will leave it behind. According to AIF, over 250,000 tents are left behind in the UK. Most of them are NOT donated to charity or can’t be recycled, so they end up in landfills. The average tent weighs close to eight pounds and is mostly made of plastic – the equivalent of 8,750 straws or 250 pint cups. Multiply that by 250,000 and you have a staggering amount of plastic waste.
Then they plan on educating festival goers, who often think the tent is going to charity or can be recycled if they leave it behind. If attendees realize what they are contributing to, then maybe they will bring their tent home after the festival.
This comes as part of AIF’s Drastic On Plastic campaign that aims to limit the amount of plastic used at festivals. In the first year of the pledge, 2018, the campaign got some remarkable results from their signatories. 93% of signatories ditched plastic straws, 40% banned the sale of drinks in single-use plastic on-site, 40% replaced single-use bar cups with reusable cups, 67% sold branded reusable drinks bottles and 87% promoted the use of reusable bottles, according to the AIF.
So this summer, do the right thing and take your tent and trash home. Reuse that tent for the next time. It may not be as convenient, but small sacrifices can be made to convenience to save the environment.