THE BLOG

Why I Love My Tent

05/04/2012 22:46 BST | Updated 05/06/2012 10:12 BST

It's about this time of year that I start to get excited about the upcoming festival season; finding out who's playing where and which ones we might go to, assessing the all-important festival wardrobe and pondering whether we'll take the plunge this year and go to a festival with the kids.

This year I will also be thinking about investing in a good quality tent, something I have to admit, I've never done before because I've always managed to borrow one. But since getting involved with the guys from Love Your Tent, I've become somewhat of a tent aficionado.

Love Your Tent is a new campaign which encourages festival-goers to invest in a good quality tent, which can be used for years to come, rather than a cheap one-use product, which gets left behind at events and sent straight to landfill.

I really believe in the campaign because I think any small part we can play in reducing landfill will have an effect. Partying outdoors offers the perfect opportunity to make a difference. If we want to continue to enjoy festivals in our parks and countryside, we all need to do our bit to make them greener, more ethical and more sustainable.

Currently there are no recycling options for tent components at festivals, so after a lengthy and costly clean-up operation, the discarded tents are sent to landfill. It seems unbelievable that although many people make an effort to recycle in the home they don't think to apply the same logic to a weekend spent outdoors. Tent retailers, festival organisers and festival audiences all need to take responsibility to make this happen.

Last year, more than 450 festivals took place across the UK, attracting hundreds of thousands of guests. Of those guests, roughly one in six left their tent and camping equipment behind - when you think of it in those terms, you get an idea of the scale of the problem. It's an environmental disgrace.

Dismantling tents and disposing of them, is a time-intensive and costly exercise for festival organisers, money which could be far better spent in other ways. This is particularly unfair on some of the smaller, independent festivals, which simply don't have the funds of resource to cope with this.

We are by far the worst culprits in Europe for discarding our equipment - it's almost become an endemic part of UK festival culture - which is more than a little embarrassing. This isn't helped by the fact that one-use tents now cost as little as £8-10 in the UK and after a weekend of partying and possibly wet weather, you can see how tempting it is, to leave stuff behind.

The cause isn't helped by a misconception that exists amongst festival-goers, that discarded tents are used by charities, which send them to overseas trouble spots. This simply isn't the case, while your tent might be great for a few days at Glastonbury, it certainly won't be of use in a disaster zone.

It's not just us, the festival-goers, who need to get on board with the campaign, Love Your Tent is currently trying to lobby retailers to demonstrate their commitment to the environment and to take responsibility for the lifespan of the tents they sell.

So I guess the message is simple really; love your tent, invest in it look after it, don't dump it once the party's over. Clean and store your tent when you get home ready for a lifetime's worth of festival going.

For more information and to 'like' the campaign on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/LoveYourTent and make sure you check out the short film too.