Festival Republic and sustainability group Julie’s Bicycle are trialling a campsite waste project at the 2015 Reading Festival – which will focus on addressing the tonnes of waste left behind by campers at the end of the festival. A dedicated survey will find out why people leave their tents behind and whether, by offering additional services such as tent cleaning, tent packing and tent transport, they could be persuaded to take them home instead of leaving them behind – gauging festivalgoers’ interest in the additional camping services which are designed to add value to tents and camping equipment, encouraging festivalgoers to treat their equipment better and ultimately take it away at the end of the festival.
A survey conducted by Festival Republic showed that 30% of Reading Festival attendees left tents and camping equipment behind, with 79% saying that they were ‘too tired’ to clear p after the festival; 59% viewed tents and camping equipment as ‘cheap and easily replaceable’ ; and 58% of those asked why they left their camping gear at Reading, and 59% of those asked at Leeds, said that it was because it was broken. Festival Republic, Julie’s Bicycle, outdoor and leisure retailer Blacks, and design and sustainability consultancy WeAllDesign are using a £20,000 grant from Innovate UK to back the trials at Reading 2015.
Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, said: “tackling camp site waste is an issue we’re extremely focused on changing. This trial at Reading Festival 2015 will see brand-new services available that will aide keeping camping equipment in the long run. We’re excited for the outcome and moving this initiative forward.” Alison Tickell, CEO of Julie’s Bicycle, added: “Re-thinking our work so that environmental impacts are addressed as a matter of course is not only better for our planet – it’s better for our long term business prospects too. This project brings together the key protagonists who can help to make our festivals more sustainable, in every sense.”
Frank Boyd at the Knowledge Transfer Network, which brought the group together, said: “As is so often the case with a big challenge like this, the solution can be found when you bring together different expertise and abilities.”
After every Reading Festival, volunteers take part in a salvage operation to scour camp sites recovering tents, sleeping bags and camping equipment left behind at the end of the festival. In 2013, 20 tonnes of reusable items were rescued from Reading Festival camp sites and in 2014, 19 tonnes were salvaged.