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UK festivals face a plastic tent crisis. Can startups like EnviroTent and KarTent change the game with biodegradable cardboard tents? Explore the shift.

Every summer, UK music festivals witness a recurring issue: the abandonment of thousands of plastic tents, contributing to a significant environmental problem. According to the Association of Independent Festivals, around 250,000 tents are left behind annually, most of which end up in landfills.

Tayla Evans, a young entrepreneur, decided to tackle this issue head-on. She founded EnviroTent, a startup that creates recyclable and biodegradable camping gear made from cardboard. Despite initial skepticism, Evans assures that the cardboard tents, designed with a unique seven-sided structure, are sturdy and capable of withstanding a three-day festival weekend, "come rain or shine."

According to CNN

"I think a lot of people were a bit unsure about it," Evans said, emphasizing the tents' durability and their potential to significantly reduce plastic pollution at festivals. The tents, which were initially conceived as a school project in 2019, have undergone several prototype stages, with the most recent versions showcasing at the Vegan Camp Out festival this summer.

The cardboard tents offer several benefits, including better insulation and light-blocking properties, which have been well-received by festival-goers. Moreover, the tents are customizable, allowing users to personalize their shelters, making them easily identifiable amidst a sea of tents.

EnviroTent is not alone in this endeavor. Dutch company KarTent has been producing cardboard tents since 2015, offering a solution to the single-use tent issue plaguing festivals. Their tents, retailing at €68 ($73), are made from 73% recycled cardboard and have found a substantial market in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Despite the promising initiative, some argue that the focus should be on encouraging festival attendees to reuse and maintain high-quality camping kits, steering clear of single-use items altogether. Shambala Festival, for instance, promotes audience education and behavior change over the use of biodegradable tents.

As the industry explores various solutions, including rental platforms like Tentshare and initiatives like "No Tent Left Behind" by Decathlon, the consensus remains that reducing waste and promoting sustainable practices is the ultimate goal.

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theatre actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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