Amanda Campbell: Thinking Outside The Box

Photograph: Phil John
Photograph: Phil John

Across Europe and North America, hundreds of thousands will have made their way to muddy fields and designated sites for the summer music festival season, partied for several days straight, and inevitably left a trail of rubbish in their wake.

As litter pickers descend on Glastonbury in the UK to deal with the weekend’s aftermath, we’re reminded that last year they had to clean up an estimated 5,000 abandoned tents, 6,500 sleeping bags, 3,500 airbeds, and 950 rolled mats.

The problem is that cheap tents made from cheap materials – costing as little as £15 at some supermarkets – are easy to come by, says Amanda Campbell, founder of what she claims is the world’s first compostable tent, Comp-a-Tent.

Campbell, a recent University College London graduate in architectural studies, thought up the compostable tent for her final year design project. During the research stage, she realised that a bio-based material such as corn starch bioplastic could biodegrade within 120 days when composted. On its own the bioplastic material couldn’t endure wear and tear, but by putting natural fibres from bamboo or silk between sheets of the bioplastic the tent could be made durable and waterproof.

Campbell’s target market is the average festival-goer who considers their tent to be a throw-away purchase. An estimated one in five tents are abandoned at music festivals and Campbell wants to be able to offer them one they can dispose of with minimal impact on the environment and a good conscience. A good conscience however doesn’t come as cheap and the use of greener materials will cost around £50.

(Read the article in full over on The Guardian)

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