A recent survey found that 30% of Reading Festival attendees were leaving their tents and camping equipment behind, with 79% reasoning  they were ‘too tired’ after the Festival, and 59% saying tents and camping equipment was ‘cheap and easily replaceable’.

To reduce this waste, festival-goers will be offered new services this year, such as tent cleaning and packing, designed to encourage campers to take their equipment home with them.

The service is the result of a collaboration between organisers Festival Republic, sustainability non-profit Julie’s Bicycle, outdoors retailer Blacks, and sustainability consultancy WeAllDesign. The project also received £20,000 funding from Innovate UK.

Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn 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 aid keeping camping equipment in the long run. We’re excited for the outcome and moving this initiative forward.”

Better business, better planet

Alison Tickell, the 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.”

Reading is also promoting sustainable travel to the festival this year, through a partnership with BlaBlaCar to encourage car sharing. Drivers who offer empty seats on the website will be offered priority parking and can make money from those willing to pay for a pick up. 

The festival also recycled 214 tonnes of waste last year alone, but organisers pointed out that 230 tonnes of waste was abandoned by campers in 2014.

Glastonbury music festival is still seen as the industry leader on sustainability, with solar panels on stages and biodiesel tractors. This year for the first time, the festival even introduced sustainable loos, with the sanitation company ‘Natural Event’ providing 1,111 composting toilets.

Brad Allen

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