Recycling and waste management sectors should "get off their arses", says Wayne Hemingway

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
Courtesy of Tracy Kidd Photography

Designer, Wayne Hemingway, MBE, co-founder of Red or Dead and Hemingway Design, has called for the recycling and waste management sectors to “get off their arses” and get involved with the Festival of Thrift, an annual festival that has grown from an idea that he and Gerardine Hemingway came up with in 2012.

“The Festival of Thrift is the first large scale national event that celebrates sustainability in a truly uplifting, engaging and fun way,” Hemingway told RWW before adding: “Reuse as a subject matter can be dry whereas the Festival of Thrift is joyous and is being recognised as such internationally.”

Taking place at Kirkleatham Museum and grounds, Redcar on Saturday, 23 and Sunday, 24 September, the Festival of Thrift attracted over 35,000 people in 2016 and was voted The Observer’s Ethical Award, Arts & Culture winner in 2015.

“We have achieved all this creatively with fantastic support from local councils and we’ve done it without major sponsors,” continued Hemingway who stressed: “We are not asking for money. This is an opportunity for the recycling and waste management industry to get involved in an event that is engaging, fun and interesting.”

An example of the reuse activities that take place at the Festival is the Fix-it Café.

“A team of volunteers offer their services to repair anything from a toaster to book-binding. You can get things mended for free or by making a donation,” said the designer. “Carpenters volunteer to build dens with off-cuts and pallets and we have families spend all day building dens. It is all about sustainability and reuse.”

Previous years have seen the event host over 120 stalls and 300 workshops and demonstrations.

“To understand the scale of the event, the only festival larger than ours is Glastonbury. It is about as far away from a conference as you can get and it is for everybody,” emphasised Hemingway.

To find out how you and/or your company can get involved with the Festival of Thrift, go to or contact the team on

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