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Comp-A-Tent is a compostable tent designed for a weekend that biodegrades in 120 days, eliminating the 750000 petrol-based tents that end up in landfill.

What it does

Comp-A-Tent is a compostable tent designed for a weekend that biodegrades in 120 days, eliminating the 750000 petrol-based tents that end up in landfill.

Your inspiration

The first time I worked at a festival, I awoke on the Tuesday morning, to an eerie silence, yet a multi-coloured sea of tents left, abandoned & destined for landfill. Watching security collapse the tents, trucks driving them around site & depositing them into skips, at festival after festival, there had to be another way to solve the problem of 1-in-5 tents being left behind. Comp-A-Tent’s goals are to develop a circular economy business; improve consumer experience; reduce clear-up times & develop a scalable model that could be rolled out in various arenas; from festivals, to humanitarian-use to eco-tourism.

How it works

The Comp-A-Tent uses a patented process by which to decrease tensile stresses through a fabric using fibres. By doing so, it negates the low tensile strength associated with bioplastics, allowing for them to be utilised for the sheet material of a tent. By using EN13432 certified compostable materials, the Comp-A-Tent is able to enter industrial composting streams, even if caked in mud. Comp-A-Tent’s end-of-life process is highly considered, with wet & mud cited as a key reason tents are abandoned, adding 50% of the weight of the waste & labour associated with cleaning tents limiting the scalability of current wave of rental models. But it’s more than developing a product. At Comp-A-Tent we are building a consortium of stakeholders, collaborating with Festivals, waste companies & existing manufacturers to tackle the problem holistically

Design process

The earliest Comp-A-Tent was rough and ready, thrown together from 2 sticks, some hemp and compost bin bags laminated together and tested at Bestival Festival back in 2014. Over the year this A-frame tent evolved, a key process being to remove the tensile stress through the fabric, through the lamination of fibres between fabrics. In 2016 a design overhaul lead to the tipi design of today. It capitalises on the compressive strength of it’s card tube and tensile strength of hemp fibres to suspend the bioplastic materials to form the tent. Since 2014 prototyping has dropped from 2 months, to 2 days, to now 2 hours. The tipi design was tested throughout summer 2016 at numerous festivals - the design becoming shorter, a single, squatter tube used, reducing component – it even survived the tail of a hurricane! We counted hundred of tents, during and then after festivals, using sample-area to quantify the problem; wore hi-vis jackets to get into recycling facilities and interview the staff; and interviewed festival goers around their habits & pain-points to inform the Comp-A-Tent proposition. A manufacturing route is being explored with British partners, using innovative technology used for high-end sporting and outdoors clothing, alongside discussions with existing tent brands.

How it is different

Comp-A-Tent consists of the product, a service model & ecosystem to solve the tent problem. For consumers, the C-A-T is bought online, alongside a ticket, collected & pitched anywhere on site.used. On Monday morning it’s returned for a deposit. The service model capitalises on existing deposit-return models at festivals. Through this model any consumer is encouraged to return the tent & received the deposit; speeding up site clearing time & creating a pure stream of waste. The Hero Product, tipi design is not only distinctive, but allows for fast dismantling & easy removal of non-compostable waste from inside. Rental model & ‘recyclable’ tent concepts are also being developed, in order to create a portfolio of options for festival organisers. The aim is to encourage festival goers to bring as little as possible, to increase up take of public transport services, decreasing traffic around festivals & speeding getting on & off site.

Future plans

Summer 2017 is the first time we’ve been able to produced tents in numbers. As such we are performing tests with consumers at festivals in Wales and Netherlands, along side a collaborative research project with Festival Republic to develop the service model, waste infrastructure and a consortium of partners. Developing more than a product; a solution. Alongside this work, we have begun discussions with a leading outdoors company, which includes some of the biggest tent brands, in the pursuit of being able to utilise their logistical and product development work streams to quickly enable scale and adaptability of the Comp-A-Tent range.


Nacue Disruptive Innovation Awards 2016 Enviu/Think Beyond Plastic Accelerator 2016 Plastic Fantastic 2016 - Second Place Royal Academy of Engineering Launchpad Finalists 2016 Posters in Parliament research prize 2016 University College London (UCL) Bright Ideas Award Winner 2016 Business GreenTech Awards 2015 Nomination

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