The great Glastonbury clean-up begins

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The Independent Culture

The great Glastonbury clean-up was under way today as more than 1,650 tonnes of waste are swept from the festival fields.

The process, which takes more than two weeks, involves an estimated 500 paid staff alone picking litter, and several more doing other jobs across the 600-acre site.

Last year's figures estimated 48 per cent of the waste generated was recycled, in keeping with Michael Eavis's "Love the Farm, Leave no Trace" policy.

About 150,000 people are at the festival at any one time and are expected to leave behind 54 tonnes of cans and plastic bottles, 9.12 tonnes of glass and 11.2 tonnes of discarded tents. There are also 193 tonnes of "compostable material".

There are 66.77 tonnes of scrap metal, 0.25 tonnes of plastic sheeting, 41.76 tonnes of cardboard, 10 tonnes of dense plastics and 400 tonnes of wood.

Andy Willcott, who oversees the cleansing operation, said: "It's the same as always. We are trying to return it back to being a farm again. The priority is not sending waste to landfill and recycling as much as we can. The majority of waste is removed after the festival.

"We have a few volunteers but a lot of paid staff. The vast bulk will be gone in the first week. It will then be a finer and finer litter pick. As the grass grows back more things will surface - mainly things like bits of paper from trampled paper cups. It will be looking a lot better after two weeks."

The Green Police were out in force this year, trying to stop people "peeing" on the ground.