New Zealand's 'terrible' disposable tent problem wrecking environment

Camping is a classic part of summer, but increasingly Kiwis are turning to cheap disposable tents and it's devastating for the environment.

Hundreds of tents were left on the Rhythm and Vines grounds after the New Year's festival near Gisborne. While some are donated to charity, many need to be thrown out.

Rachel Brown, the chief executive of the Sustainable Business Network, says the waste is excessive.

"Disposable tents is now a thing - I wouldn't have believed that 20 years ago," she told RadioLIVE hosts Mike Puru and Trudi Nelson.

Puru says that tents have become so cheap that people can't be bothered taking them when they leave.

"You can get a pretty good tent from some of these outlets for about $30, and the incentive there is just to leave it because it's rubbish," he says.

"I think those $20 tents are designed to be disposable," Ms Brown agrees.

"They don't survive people being rough with them and so they probably don't get through one Rhythm and Vines event, so they're just terrible, terrible things really."

She says both retailers and the people buying these cheap tents are to blame for the environmental damage being caused.

"The challenge for young people is that they don't want to spend a lot of money on a tent," she says.

"So the people who are organising those events might need to think about providing tents for these people so that they're not creating waste. You might have to pay an extra 20 bucks."

Rhythm and Vines event manager Dan Turner says they've been trying to encourage people to take their tents with them.

"The Warehouse doesn't help," he told Stuff.

"Those $20 tents, they're not waterproof and they just get left behind. It's such an issue, we really want those kids to spend a bit more money and take the tent home."

There may be one solution - cardboard tents. Northern Bass has been offering the "sustainable, recyclable, cardboard accommodation" for the environmentally conscious.

Developed by KarTent, the tents take aim at the growing landfill problem.

"The cardboard allows for easy recycling of the tent; after the festival, the tent can go directly to the paper recycling industry so that they can re-use your tent to make toilet paper, books, shoe boxes or other romantic things!" the manufacturers say.