Glastonbury; the big clean

July 3rd, 2013 Category: Building Management

Venue cleaning can be difficult at the best of times, but when the venue is Glastonbury, the big clean up can take weeks to complete and requires thousands of man hours.

This year 135,000 people descended upon Glastonbury’s fields in Somerset to enjoy headlining acts Arctic Monkeys, The Rolling Stones and Mumford & Sons along with hundreds of other performances spread across a weekend in the Vale of Avalon. The farm, which covers over 900 acres, becomes home to the country’s biggest festival over one week in June, but once completed, it becomes one of Britain’s biggest clean up operations.

According to figures published in the Independant, it takes six weeks to clean the site and costs £780,000 to dispose of all the rubbish left at the festival. There are 5,487 toilets to take away, 15,000 oil drum bins to be emptied and roughly 6,500 sleeping bags, 9,500 roll mats, 3,500 air beds and 400 gazebos to throw away.

Glastonbury’s cleanup is unique not just because of its scale, but also because of its attitude towards the environment. Each year organisers of the festival do all they can to make sure that Glastonbury remains amongst the greenest and cleanest events held throughout the world, using campaigns such as Love the Farm, Leave No Trace and Julies Bicycle to reduce the festival's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

This ethos also extends to green cleaning of the site. Some 1,300 recycling volunteers turn up each year to clear up the fields, organising waste and disposing in an eco-friendly manner. In 2008, 863.32 tonnes of waste was recycled, including: 193.98 tonnes of composed organic waste; 40 tonnes of chipped wood; 54 tonnes of cans and plastic bottles and 41 tonnes of cardboard. Organisers hope to set a precedent not only for other events, but also for businesses and households across the country.