As Covid restrictions become more and more relaxed and as we soak up the last few days of hot weather many are enjoying themselves at festivals across the country. Recently Reading, Sundown, and Latitude, to name but a few, and as scores of people enjoy these musical gatherings making memories that long transcend the muddy fields, and scorching acres of luscious countryside it is important to address what gets left behind! That of thousands upon thousands of tents, blow-up beds, sleeping bags, camping chairs, cooking, and eating equipment, clothes, and unopened food, all previously thrown away.
However, positive change is and has been, taking place with salvage teams descending onto festival sites after all the action has taken place to attempt to rescue as much as possible to help those in need – AND protect the local landscape whilst enhancing sustainability. All clothing and sleeping accessories such as tents and sleeping bags will be distributed to appropriate charities, typically those closest to the site of the festival. Whilst any unopened food will be delivered to local food banks and collection centres helping to feed hungry families.
Some charity workers have noted how the uptake of sleeping supplies have been lower due to the pandemic as the government undertook the scheme to rehouse those on the street. Nonetheless, many are beginning to see an increase as the no eviction policy comes to an end, putting those at risk of homelessness. Subsequently, many see these salvaged items as vital for the coming months as homeless figures are set to rise.
It is worth noting that everything taken is in good condition and food is always unopened and in its use by date, with the relevant organisations thoroughly inspecting items before they are gifted to those in need. Therefore, festival clean-ups do still result in huge amounts of rubbish being sent to landfill! Nonetheless, these schemes are overwhelmingly positive as the festival location is fully restored to its pre-event state, with items only being sent to landfill if of poor or unsalvageable quality, whilst food and sleeping equipment etc is being used to help those who most need it. Potentially keeping someone warm in freezing cold conditions or feeding children who would otherwise have gone hungry.
This scheme truly illustrates the importance of making use of what we already have, and how valuable that can be. The UK has held festivals for decades are yet only now we are making use of potentially life-saving items! This scheme should be viewed as a blueprint for other events and occasions in which perfectly reusable items are thrown away instead of being reused by someone who would appreciate it far more than those who abandon them, in there thousands. In a society that is trying to tackle climate change, global warming, reusability, and sustainability perhaps there are far more local and low-cost initiatives that would not only reduce landfill but also help someone immensely.
If YOU would like to help those in need, you can make donations to the Clothing Collective [here]