Days after crowds cheered for Greta Thunberg’s speech regarding the future of our planet, the same festivalgoers have left the site under a pile of rubbish. On average the festival produces 2,000 tonnes of waste with a large proportion of that being left on the ground. The clean-up crew and volunteers are left with the task of cleaning up the mess which includes discarded tents, chairs and mattresses.
Roughly 200,000 people left Worthy Farm in Somerset, and large proportions of the items left behind included non-recyclables. Not only are these damaging to the planet due to the time it takes for them to breakdown, but they are also incredibly harmful to the cows that graze on the fields of this dairy farm. Especially tent pegs which could be ingested. In some cases, reusable items such as tents and camping chairs were left behind.
With over 15,000 bins located throughout the site, it is clear to see that this is not enough and for future events, organisers need to make sure more bins are available. For items that could be recycled, each attendee was handed a green bag in order to place their recyclables in.
There are roughly 2,500 volunteers that clean up the site after the festival ends. One volunteer claimed that there has been a decrease in the amount of gas canisters dumped but there has been a significant increase in the amount of vape bars that have been discarded.
Glastonbury’s organisers have in recent years begun to investigate ways to decrease the amount of unrecyclable waste to make their festival greener. In 2019, the sale of plastic bottles was banned, and only reusable and compostable plates, cutlery and straws can be used and sold by food vendors.