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ReThink, ReMake, ReCycle: What do you waste?

Investigating the scale and impact of common household waste materials such as paper and plastics.

As part of the Bristol+Bath Creative R+D Inclusion Programme, The Factory worked with residents of South Bristol to unpick the data behind what we waste, and followed a process of creative ‘Design Thinking’, prototyping and utilising digital tools to co-design and test out sustainable solutions and alternatives.

As a response to the ongoing pandemic, we shifted the format of this activity and delivered all workshop sessions online, supplemented with physical workshop packs that we delivered to participant’s houses. We piloted a virtual ‘Design Thinking’ workshop back in April 2020 facilitated by collaborative and sustainable designer Lisa Cole, and took our learning from this experience to create a series of 3 different workshop sessions mixing presentations and video content with group discussion, digital whiteboards and smaller break out rooms.

Participants of all ages completed household waste audits for our community generated data sets, gained a deeper understanding of the materials we use on a daily basis, and developed ideas and skills through the exploration of new and recycled materials. We introduced tools such as plastic shredders, sheet presses and laser cutters and  to inspire and push this exploration further, and encouraged ongoing sharing and connection across our online platforms.

This activity has contributed to KWMC The Factory’s commitment to developing sustainable practices across our physical and digital spaces, focusing on circular economy principles and encouraging responsible, thoughtful digital design and making approaches. It has also acted as a test bed for future exploration of data and digital technologies in the context of community-engaged digital placemaking.

The online activity kicked off online on Thursday 26 November during the European Week for Waste Reduction, with a session looking at the impact of paper waste globally and locally, and this was followed with sessions looking specifically at Plastics, particularly recycled plastics and bioplastic alternatives, and Paper, with Lisa Cole taking us through a Design Thinking approach to think up and prototype creative solutions to tackle paper waste.

The workshop packs included:

  • Printed ‘waste audit’ sheets for measuring household paper and plastic waste
  • Joining instructions for each of the 3 workshop sessions
  • Ingredients & tools for making ‘bioplastic’ pine resin pots, and ‘gelatine-based’ plastic with agar agar
  • Safety clothing for the bioplastics activities
  • A sewing kit, fabric and towel for making a washable, reusable cloth
  • A laser cut keyring made with from recycled plastic sheet
  • Links to video tutorials for the bioplastics activities, washable cloth, and techniques for sustainably wrapping gifts

For more information, please email or call The Factory on 0117 403 2306.

Rethink, Remake, Recycle is funded by Bristol+Bath Creative R+D part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme managed by the Arts & Humanities Research Council as part of the Industrial Strategy.

Bristol +Bath Creative R+D logo.    ParCos and EU logo
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