Thousands of tents are being abandoned after festivals in the mistaken belief they will be donated to charitable causes, according to charity Festival Waste Reclamation & Distribution.

The charity’s director Matt Wedge spoke to the Telegraph, saying: “There is a common misconception that leaving your tent is like making a donation. It’s simply not the case.

We co-ordinate local volunteers and charity groups to take as much as we can for the homeless and refugees in Calais and Dunkirk but realistically, up to 90 per cent gets left behind.”

The problem arose after a small number of festivals advertised the fact that charities collected their abandoned tents. But festival-goers have since began leaving their tents behind even at festivals where this was not the case.

The result is an enormous amount of plastic going into landfills and incinerators, even if tent owners believed they were making a charitable donation by leaving their tents behind.

Wedge was working at the Leeds festival site after the event concluded this past weekend,

alongside around 200 volunteers. He said one of the biggest problems was that tents were increasingly being sold at knockdown prices and were often advertised as “festival tents,” suggesting they were disposable.

He said a culture shift was needed to alter perceptions of acceptable behaviour on a festival site: “It hasn’t really changed in the last seven years. Many of the festivals have these green initiatives, but the message just isn’t getting through.”