The environmental cost of abandoning your tent at a music festival.

19. July 2019 | Waste | via


(Credit: WikimediaImages from Pixabay)

According to an article on, for a festival of 200,000 people this is a huge achievement. But really it should be normal. Hopefully this bodes well for future years, because the Association of Independent Festivals estimates that a quarter of a million so called “single-use” tents are abandoned at music festivals across the UK each year.

There is a popular belief that most tents left behind after festivals are collected and sold by charities or sent to good causes. But this is wishful thinking: most of it end up in landfill. The practical and cost overheads for festival organisers and charities of collecting thousands of tents are just too much. All the elements of the tents – pegs, poles, sheets and bags – need to be present, undamaged, and the tent sufficiently clean and functional to be reused.

After a festival, security typically flatten those tents still standing to insure no one has been left behind, or even – as this year – to discover whether anyone has died during the event. This makes it harder to easily identify the tents that are potentially reusable in a field full of them. It’s also likely they’ll be damaged in the process.

It’s been reported that tents make up 17% of waste from UK festivals that ends up in landfill. Cheap tents are often made out of polyester or nylon with a coating of silicone or acrylic polyurethane, with poles made of carbon fibre and pegs made of aluminium. Synthetic fibres such as nylon and polyester are polymers derived from fossil fuels and generally do not biodegrade. Polymers have exceptionally high stability and durability, which is precisely why such materials are so popular and so suitable for making tents.

Take Your Tent Home - Say No To Single Use