Charity workers have warned festivalgoers against leaving their tents behind at the end of a festival, challenging the widespread belief that they are all later donated to charity. Check out footage of the aftermath below.
Images of thousands of abandoned tents and rubbish left behind by attendees of Reading & Leeds Festivals on Monday (August 27) have attracted negative headlines in the past few days, with the result being that “avoidable plastic pollution” is actually taken to a landfill rather than being donated to any charitable cause.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Festival Waste Reclamation & Distribution director Matt Wedge said: “There is a common misconception that leaving your tent is like making a donation.
“It’s simply not the case. We co-ordinate local volunteers and charity groups and take as much as we can for the homeless and refugees in Calais and Dunkirk but realistically, up to 90% gets left behind.”
I hope these tents and sleeping bags are kept and given to those in need? Would be irresponsible for them to all go to landfill @OfficialRandL #Leeds #tents #festival #pollution
Photo credit Emma Wright pic.twitter.com/M4Ih8AocSZ
— Dan Knight (@DanKnight2304) August 29, 2018
Meanwhile, footage has also emerged of what appears to be the aftermath of tents left behind at Leeds Festival.
“The aftermath of a festival,” wrote Sophie Cottis-Allan, who shared the clip. “The waste is just ridiculous… Luckily hundreds of volunteers from amazing charities were invited on site to salvage something from this throwaway culture. Unfortunately, more than 90% of the tents we came across were trashed/slashed/burnt.”
The aftermath of Leeds festival. The waste is just ridiculous… 🙁 Luckily hundreds of volunteers from amazing charities were invited on site to salvage something from this throwaway culture. Unfortunately, more than 90% of the tents we came across were trashed/slashed/burnt.
Posted by Sophie Cottis-Allan on Monday, August 27, 2018
Over 200 volunteers, including Wedge, worked on the Leeds site yesterday (August 28) as part of the clean-up, and he added that the assumed idea that “festival tents” are disposable has instilled a troubling culture among some festivalgoers.
“It hasn’t really changed in the last seven years,” he added. “Many of the festivals have these green initiatives, but the message just isn’t getting through.”
Friends of the Earth campaigner Emma Priestland echoed these sentiments, telling the Telegraph: “There was a time when charities could collect a small amount of left-behind tents and donate them to a good cause, but increasingly tents are flimsily constructed so they become single-use items.
“This is large-scale, ugly littering. Awareness of the senseless damage of plastic pollution is higher than it’s ever been, so it’s inexcusable that people don’t recognise abandoned tents for what they are: even more avoidable plastic pollution.”