Plastic free tent for Festivals

Plastic free tent: This recyclable tent is perfect for festivals as it helps reduce plastic pollution and waste


An inventor has created a recyclable festival tent made of board and urges other manufacturers to invest in plastic-free products.

It comes as more than 60 independent festivals are urging shops to stop marketing their plastic tents as ‘festival tents’ and giving the impression they are single use.

The Association of Independent Festivals says that around 250,000 tents are abandoned at music festivals across the UK every year, resulting in the equivalent to 875 tonnes of plastic waste.


However Ian Bates, an inventor at Reel Brands, has shaped a type of water resistant board which he says will combat the problem.

Using a material called Cygnus Eco, developed by Swanline Paper and Board, he is able to mould everything from tents to ice-buckets – all of which are plastic-free and biodegradable when composted.

The wood pulp is made into the paperboard, with a secret natural water-repellent between the layers, to make sure it doesn’t fall apart when it comes into contact with water.

Ian said: “Plastic tents at festivals cost the festivals a lot of money to go to landfill or incinerate.”

But a mono-material, such as board, can be easily recycled and using  water or food-based ink for printing also makes this easier, he says. Reel Brands also carries the Plastic Free Mark, created by the organisation A Plastic Planet, as a consumer trust mark that the packaging is plastic free.

However, Ian added: “It’s all very well coming up with products, but they’ve got to be viable and compete out there in the retail market too.”


Reel Brands’ use of board means that consumers do not have to consider the cost of landfill or incineration, as they would have to do with plastics. It costs about £785,000 to clean up the waste from Glastonbury and tents account for a large part of the waste.

Ian said: “A plastic bottle for example takes 400-500 years to breakdown forming micro and nano particles which attract a wide range of toxins which can then enter the food chain.

“I want to lead a legacy that I’m happy with. I don’t want to leave a trail of destruction behind me."