Charity organisations have urged festivalgoers to consider their actions, when leaving their tents and sleeping equipment behind after spending the weekend away. This news challenges the notion that abandoned equipment is later donated to charities.
This comes after images of thousands of abandoned tents and filthy campsites were left after Reading & Leeds Festival on Monday morning, and now the word is that “avoidable plastic pollution” is actually taken to a landfill rather than being donated to any charitable cause.
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
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.”
Over 200 people worked on the Leeds site yesterday, as part of the clean up operation, and Wedge elaborated that the attitude towards litter and tent abandonment is now a troubling culture that has become the norm in festival culture.
“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.”