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99% of Glastonbury tents were taken home by public

Emily Eavis has announced on Twitter that 99% of tents were taken home from Glastonbury, after the festival appealed for ticket goers to ‘leave no trace’ once they left.

For music lovers, this summer has been particularly special. Festivals are finally back in full swing after two years of stalled, cancelled, postponed, or heavily reduced gigs and music events.

Perhaps the biggest of them all – at least in the UK – is Glastonbury. This year’s was a spectacle of eclectic headliners including Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney, and Kendrick Lamar, and was a belated 50th anniversary celebration which sold out almost immediately.

That’s all great, of course, but the environmental cost for festivals can be huge.

Glastonbury has always made a conscious effort to inform the public of its green initiatives, using sustainable energy wherever it can and banning the sale of single-use plastics. What it can’t control is the leftover rubbish and tents that festival goers discard on their way out.

Abandoned tents have always been a big problem at festivals. It’s bad for the environment, wasteful in general, and disrespectful to locals. Tents are notoriously difficult to recycle and up to 90% are incinerated or chucked into landfill. Yikes.

However, 2022 has been a good year for Glastonbury’s total wastage, at least compared to other similar-sized events. Emily Eavis, festival co-organiser, tweeted today that almost every tent was taken home, leaving the fields virtually empty.

Compare these scenes to last year’s Reading and Leeds, where environmental concerns were spurred on by thousands of forgotten tents and rubbish left to rot.

It’s positive news for music events and suggests that the public are becoming more eco-conscious and thoughtful about their behaviours, albeit slowly.

As any regular reader of our site will know by now, the climate crisis continues to escalate in severity and our response becomes ever more urgent. Small gestures such as cleaning up tents is a great way to help out.

What about Glastonbury’s larger carbon footprint outside of just tents, however?

According to organisers, the event actually has a net positive impact on the climate, producing -596.25 tonnes of CO2e. If all 200,000 participants did not attend, they’d produce more emissions through regular living in the same five days. Impressive, right?

Roughly half of all waste is reused or recycled, adding up to 1000 tonnes of rubbish. The plastic ban has been incredibly effective in lowering this amount of net waste. Aluminium cans and cooking oil are also turned into biofuel after use. Check out the full break down of Glastonbury’s efforts here.

Festivals in general still remain a hinderance to the environment, despite all the good news. Glastonbury is the exception to the rule and more will need to be done in the coming decades to ensure that all live music is a net positive, not just a select few events.

For now, the message is clear. Take your damn tents home people, and pick up your rubbish! Follow in the footsteps of the biggest UK festival and allow us to enjoy many more summers of camping, music, and port-a-loos.

That’s if you can even get tickets amongst the online rush, mind.



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