Over 60 UK Festivals Aim to Ban ‘Disposable’ Plastic Tents

Single-use tents should be banned in order to prevent plastic pollution, says organizers from more than 60 festivals across the UK.

An estimated 250,000 tents are left at UK music festivals each year, the majority of which end up in a landfill. That’s according to the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), a nonprofit trade association representing major events including Boomtown and Shambala. Its new initiative “Take Your Tent Home” shines a spotlight on plastic waste.

The group notes that the majority of tents are made from as much plastic needed for 8,750 single-use straws and 250 pint cups. While AIF data indicated that just 10 percent of festival attendees ditched their tents at the end of the event, that represents an estimated 875 tonnes of plastic waste.


Making Festivals More Eco-Friendly

AIF CEO Paul Reed explains in a press release that part of the responsibility of helping make festivals more sustainable lies with retailers like Tesco and Argos.

“We call upon major retailers to stop marketing and selling tents and other camping items as essentially single-use, and profiting from disposable culture,” he said. “…The message here is not to buy a more expensive tent – with a single tent carrying the same amount of plastic as more than 8,700 plastic straws, festival audiences can take positive action and reduce their carbon footprint simply by taking their tent home and reusing it, ensuring that it doesn’t become a single-use item this summer.”

According to AIF, many festivals are already taking steps to be more eco-friendly. Ninety-three percent ditched plastic straws and 40 percent banned serving drinks in single-use cups. Major reggae festival Boomtown, one of the events represented by AIF, banned all single-use plastic this year. The festival is now replacing single-use water bottles with refillable stations and all bars will have compostable cups.

“We’re the first UK festival of our size to put all of these initiatives into place and we’re sincerely hoping it will inspire many more to do the same now its been figured out at this scale,” it announced earlier this month.

Eco-conscious festival goers can further reduce waste not only by bringing their tent home, but also by opting for reusable straws, cups, and utensils.