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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, in 2020 The Factory worked with residents of South Bristol to unpick the data behind what we waste and follow a process of creative ‘Design Thinking’ to design and test creative ways to reduce household waste.

Having piloted a virtual ‘Design Thinking’ workshop back in April 2020, facilitated by collaborative and sustainable designer Lisa Cole, we ran three ReThink ReMake ReCycle workshop sessions in November and December 2020. These sessions mixed presentations and video content with group discussion, conversations in smaller ‘break out’ rooms and using tools including digital whiteboards.

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, workshop sessions took place online, supplemented by physical workshop packs that we delivered to participants’ homes.

In March 2021 we launched the free ReThink ReMake ReCycle digital magazine to share stories, advice and activities from the workshops: ways to reduce household waste and get creative while you do it!  ‘What do you waste’ includes a range of tutorials and puzzles for families, as well as tips contributed by residents who took part in the workshops.

Free creative resource for families to reduce household waste

To coincide with Global Recycling Day, KWMC The Factory has released a free, family-friendly magazine filled with stories and advice for reducing household waste - and getting creative while you do it. The magazine includes a range of tutorials, activities and puzzles inspired by The Factory's recent project ReThink ReMake ReCycle, where residents of South Bristol came together to explore the...

The Workshops

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.

Participants of all ages completed household waste audits so they could compare data as part of a community data set.  Together, we gained a deeper understanding of the materials we use on a daily basis, and tools such as plastic shredders, sheet presses and laser cutters.

Participants received workshop packs that included the following:

  • Printed ‘waste audit’ sheets for measuring household paper and plastic waste
  • Joining instructions for each of the three workshop sessions
  • Ingredients and 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

ReThink ReMake ReCycle 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 place-making.

For more information about this project or sustainable making with The Factory, please email or call The Factory on 0117 403 2306.

ReThink, ReMake, ReCycle was 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, and is part of ParCos, an EU funded project exploring how we communicate and understand science stories.

Bristol +Bath Creative R+D logo.    ParCos and EU logo
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+44 (0) 117 903 0444

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