Friends of the Earth appeal to Electric Picnic-goers to ‘leave no trace’ in Stradbally

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Friends of the Earth had a strong presence at Electric Picnic this weekend for the fourth year in a row with 160 Green Messengers on hand to divert as much waste as possible from landfills and incinerators into recycling and composting facilities. Their efforts included running a popular plastic cup deposit and return scheme and campaigning to support the Waste Reduction Bill as part of their Sick of Plastic campaign. But the environmental organisation is keen to carry on the momentum of all that good work through Monday as people pack up and make for home.

Friends of the Earth's Cara Augustenborg commented: " In 2017, over 26% of the waste in the Electric Picnic arena was recycled due to initiatives like the cup Deposit and Return stalls and work with Every Can Counts. However, only 1% of the waste generated in campsites was recycled. Much of that waste consisted of personal belongings people left behind, particularly tents, which were collected by bulldozers and sent to landfills and incinerators.”

The Creative Green certification programme reported that in 2017 Electric Picnic festival goers generated 588 tonnes of waste, the equivalent of over 10kg per person, 21% of which was recycled and 2% of which was composted. Up to half the waste generated within campsites consists of tents.

Augustenborg added, “Waste is a huge problem at music festivals because people bring inexpensive camping gear and leave it behind, often mistakenly believing it will go to charity. After witnessing the sad state of the concert site following last year's Electric Picnic, we’re appealing to festival-goers to take home their camping gear and be responsible about their waste before they hit the road. Our volunteers have been talking to people in the Picnic campsites all weekend, asking them to leave no trace of their presence in beautiful Stradbally as festivals around the world now encourage their audiences to do.”

In 2011, the Association of Independent Festivals reported that, on average, one in six people leave their tents behind. This year at the Reading Festival in the U.K., 60,000 tents from 100,000 festival attendees were left behind, up from 13,000 abandoned tents the previous year. This was attributed to a mistaken belief that tents would be donated to charity. In fact, there are too many tents in too poor a condition for charities to be able to pack and use them.  


For media inquiries:

  • Dr. Cara Augustenborg, Head of Communications, Friends of the Earth Ireland:



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