Glastonbury is celebrating a record 99.3% of the festival’s 200,000 punters leaving Worthy Farm with their tents in tow this year.
“Just heard that 99.3% of all tents were taken home. That is absolutely incredible… HUGE thanks to the record numbers who loved the farm and left no trace! #Glastonbury2019” Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis posted to Twitter yesterday.
The push for punters to pick up after themselves comes after post-festival images of fields strewn with rubbish and abandoned tents as well as accusations of “greenwashing” circulated through the press in 2017.
The backlash prompted organisers to take a year off and return with climate change and the environment as this year’s festival themes.
Eliminating plastic waste was first on the agenda, with organisers implementing a festival-wide ban on single-use sales that saw 1.3 million disposable bottles replaced with cans of water and refill opportunities at 37 WaterAid kiosks.
And, to get punters motivated, David Attenborough delivered a surprise speech at the festival, during which he praised the bottle ban and emphasised the importance of keeping oceans clean.
“Now this great festival has gone plastic-free, that is more than a million bottles of water have not been drunk by you in plastic. Thank you! Thank you!” he said.
Now this year’s event is officially over, an army of 1300 volunteers and 600 paid staff will pick through the site’s 15,000 bins to sort and bag waste (in recycled plastic bags that will be recycled again).
The 2019 cleanup is estimated to take four weeks – a two week improvement on the 2017 effort, although organisers are quick to point out that is largely due to the sunny weather.
When it comes to waste, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“Some of the worst offending campsites did still have several dozen tents left behind,” Eavis told The Guardian.
“Plus we still get camping chairs and air mattresses left behind, alongside standard rubbish – so things are by no means perfect yet.”