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Six ways to recycle your tent after a festival

by Sam Warrenger
Festival tent recycling

Tents being abandoned in the fields has been a massive environmental issue for loads of festivals going back decades. Disposable culture is a problem, and ideally, people would stop buying cheap tents they never want to use again. Most common tent problems can be fixed in minutes with these easy tent repairs.

But we’ve all been there; just about survived a festival in a single skin pop-up tent you can no longer bear to think about. So choose one of our recommended tents that’ll last for years and make sure your old one doesn’t go to waste.

Never leave your tent in a field. It’s a total myth that left-behind tents go to charity. Some are collected by hardworking volunteers, but the vast majority go to landfill. With these tips you should be able to put it to good use instead.

Donate your old tent to charity when you get home

If you’ve got your tent home and packed away in decent condition, you’ll find it really easy to find loads of local charities that’ll take it. Try searching for some local homelessness support groups or give it to your favourite charity shop.

Fill out this form and Gift Your Gear can arrange for your tent to be collected from you.

Find a recycling point at the festival

Glastonbury 2019 Donate Tents Airbeds to Charity

If you don’t fancy lugging your tent home on the train, loads of festivals now have a charity with onsite collection points. If you pack your tent up and find the right place to leave it, you can ‘dump’ it on Monday morning and still be sure it’s going to a good cause.

Check the website, programme or map for the festival you’re at. It’ll probably be promoted pretty heavily on their social media channels too when it’s time to go home.

Refugee charity Aid Box collected tents and camping equipment from Glastonbury in 2017 and are now raising money to find new premesis after their old building was deemed not fit for purpose.

Make a costume out of it

If your tent is ruined beyond repair, you could probably still make a costume out of the material?

RECOMMENDED: Our favourite tents that you’ll never want to throw away

Use it as a kids play tent

Recycle tent as a kids play tent
Just give them your old tent from V Fest instead?

Every camping shop sells tiny kids ‘play tents’ that cost about £20 and aren’t much use for anything but a sunny afternoon in the back garden.

If you’ve got kids, or you know someone that does, that cheap dome or pop-up tent you bought and hated would probably be a much better alternative.

Keep it until you can give it away

Messy garage or shed
If your garage already looks like this an old tent won’t make things any worse

If you don’t know someone else that’d have a use for your old tent, just keep it hidden away at the back of the shed or garage.

If you’ve got the space to store it, you might as well keep hold of it for a few years until someone else wants it.

Even if you’ve decided you’ll never camp in it again, one of your friends might be daft enough. They might think it just won’t rain. Maybe they’d want it as a play tent for their kids or someone can use the parts in their garden? Either way, better than it going to landfill.

Use the material to make a kite

Make a kite out of tent canvas

If you’re not into the tent costume above or if your tent is too grim to ever want to wear it, the material is perfect for making your own kite.

Follow the guides for making a traditional kite from Countryfile or Wikihow. You’ll need something light and sturdy for the frame like bamboo plant supports, but if you’ve got a big enough kite and a windy day you might get away with using the old tent poles.

RECOMMENDED: Our favourite tents that you’ll never want to throw away


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