Camp2Camp upcycles and gives a second life to tents and other leftover camping equipment by collecting, repairing, reusing, and renting abandoned material.
Camp2Camp started by collecting tents that were left behind at large festivals upon closing. After a good cleaning, they may be reused and rented out the year after, in this way preventing festivalgoers to buy new, cheap equipment and again leave it behind. However, a lot of the abandoned materials were in such bad shape that reuse was impossible. That’s why Camp2Camp also started repairing and upcycling the camping gear. For instance, the vests that the employees wear are made of tent canvasses. Furthermore, more than camping gear is left behind. This prompted one of the volunteers to turn abandoned beer into a non-alcoholic drink (Beer2Booz).
Bringing sustainability to the festival will have an impact on the way participants look at the throwaway society in a different way. When confronted with the fact that they can rent tents that were abandoned, festivalgoers will not only see the financial benefit of rented tents but also the practical one, because they don’t have to carry the tents to the festival and back home.
The core goal is social sustainability as Camp2Camp employs adolescents that are removed from the job market or can’t find their way in society, the so-called NEET-youngsters (Not in Employment, Education or Training). Secondly, many sleeping bags are donated to the homeless, and schools and other youth organizations can rent the camping equipment at an affordable price. Furthermore, tents are also lent to non-profit organizations and families.
Annual working costs: +- 200.000 Euro. Yearly, 15 full-time employees and 20-30 volunteers. In addition, 40 employees through holiday job contracts and 200 volunteers during festival season.
Evidence of success
Camp2Camp rents around 20.000 products (8.000 sleeping bags, 6.000 air mattresses, 2.000 tents, and 4.000 festival chairs) every summer to about 500 festivalgoers. Thanks to this success, they can employ 5 to 10 adolescents year-round.
Covid-19 has been particularly hard for Camp2Camp because the festival season was cancelled. When this became clear, Camp2Camp sought to reinvent itself and came up with the idea of urban camping in the city of Mechelen. However, due to further restrictions, this idea is put on hold for now.
Potential for learning or transfer
Festivals are organised all over the world and they share many of the challenges regarding tents and camping equipment that are left behind. Collecting everything costs merely manpower and thus the circular practice is, therefore, easily adaptable in other regions. The key will be to have the know-how of upcycling abandoned materials and to repair and/or transform the materials properly to prolong the life-cycle and to give them a second life with further purpose.