DS Smith launches recycled carboard tents for festival season

The firm has partnered with cardboard tent innovators EnviroTent to develop a version of the tent which is recycled, recyclable and free from coatings.

The lack of coatings has enhanced recyclability, and DS Smith stated that “if we added one to the board, we’d defeat our entire objective”. Even without coatings, the company claims that the tents can withstand up to four weeks of winter weather conditions including rain.

Envirotent and DS Smith will collect tents from festival sites after use and the latter will recycle them.

DS Smith’s managing director for the UK and Ireland packaging division, Paul Clarke, said: “We are used to replacing plastic from supermarket shelves but in creating cardboard tents, we’re talking about something completely different – we shifted the way we thought about design in order to protect a person, not a product.

“When we met Tayla Evans [managing director of EnviroTent], we knew that cardboard could have a different and really important role to play in replacing plastic and reducing tent trash, and we are really excited for the difference we can make together so people can create less waste and have a guilt-free festival.”

Aside from the sustainability properties of the tents, campers are being promised a more soundproof tent which stays cooler when it is hot and warmer when it is cold, due to corrugated cardboard insulation.

The launch of the tent coincides with Glastonbury Festival. Some 200,000 people are expected to attend Worthy Farm for the five-day event to see performances from artists including Coldplay, Shania Twain, SZA and Cyndi Lauper.

Tent trash mountain

Despite actions from campsites and festival organisers to tackle tent waste, it is estimated that some 250,000 tents go to landfill in the UK each year after summer. Typical tents are hard-to-recycle, often consisting of multiple metal, plastic and synthetic textile components.

A recent OnePoll survey of people who have purchased a tent in the past five years found that 70% have used it just once. 52% admitted that they would still be likely to buy a tent, use it for just one event, then bin it, in the future.

Clarke said: “Festivals are at the heart of British summertime, but we’ve all seen the shocking images of their aftermath; abandoned polyester tents as far as the eye can see.”

Aside from creating more easily recyclable tents, as DS Smith and EnviroTent have done, another approach involves encouraging repair and reuse.

Sporting and outdoor retailer Decathlon recently re-launched its ‘No Tent Left Behind’ scheme for 2024. Until 13 September, customers will be able to return their eligible tents to stores for trade-in, even if they have been used. They will receive a gift card amounting to the full amount they spent on the tent.

Collected tents will be refurbished, cleaned and resold via Decathlon’s ‘Second Life’ resale platform. The platform initially launched in the UK last year for own-brand bicycles and was expanded this spring to cover a range of camping gear and fitness equipment including golf clubs, tennis rackets and paddleboards.

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