Thanks to the easing of restrictions, festivals returned this summer. However, so did the litter that comes with them. In our summer rubbish roundup, we’re going to look at the bad, the ugly, and the good of festival litter.
Festival litter: Reading Festival
90,000 festival-goers flocked to Reading over the August Bank Holiday to see the likes of Liam Gallagher and Stormzy. As the sun went down on the festival, drone footage showed the litter that the revellers had left behind. People left six fields full of festival litter including abandoned tents, beer cans and bottles, fold-up chairs, plastic bags, and clothing.
The festival’s sustainability manager said that much of the festival litter goes to a recycling plant. However, she added that items like tents are one of the hardest things to recycle.
The founder of the anti-litter organisation Clean Up Britain slammed what he called ‘self-indulgent, lazy behaviour.’
He added that festival organisers need to do more when it comes to insisting that visitors take things home with them.
Festival Litter: Sundown Festival, Norfolk Showground
Over 20,000 people attended the Sundown Festival each day from Friday 3rd until Sunday 5th September. Just like at the Reading Festival, there was a lot of litter left behind, including carrier bags, drinks cans, and tents.
When the festival last took place in 2019, there was litter lying on the site for over a week. The organisers said they would introduce incentives to tackle the problem of festival litter. This year, all camping tickets included a £5 refundable ‘litter bond’.
Festival-goers could get it back if they filled up a bin bag with litter before they left. As a result, people collected two industrial-sized skips worth of rubbish.
A local charity, Mandalay Wellbeing, also got involved, collecting discarded tents for vulnerable people.
Festival Litter: Leeds Festival
Two 13-year-old eco-warriors have found a way to make money and protect the environment. Charlie Speight and Alfie Armitage attend the festival every year with their parents. Festival organisers implemented a 10p trade-in reward for disposable cups. When people return disposable cups to collection points around the site, they get 10p per cup. The savvy boys came up with the idea of turning festival litter into cash. They started collecting cups for cash and to help the festival clean-up teams.
The 10p reward is part of Leeds Festival’s drive to clamp down on single-use plastics. Organisers have also:
- Banned the use of single-use plastic cutlery and non-compostable items since 2009;
- Only bought bottled water from firms that use 50% recycled plastic;
- Requested that vendors decant soft drinks and alcoholic drinks from cans into paper cups;
- Asked festival-goers to bring a plastic or metal reusable water bottle to fill up at the water stations
Though much has been done to crack down on festival litter, we must do more. Next time you’re at an event, show that you can enjoy yourself without making the planet pay the price!
For more articles on all things litter and the environment, check out the rest of our blog.