We’ve all stumbled upon at least one deeply upsetting video of an animal suffering due to human recklessness concerning poor recycling. We are now so tuned into seeing bottles floating onto shores and people discarding plastic bags on beaches, that we sometimes forget just how easy it is to contribute to a better tomorrow.

Many things we consume have recyclable labels, but not all towns possess the means to recycle every material possible. Coffee cups and Tetra packs are, for example, two types of items that are difficult to repurpose. As much as people do their part towards using more sustainable alternatives, it is something that takes time, commitment and, most importantly, viable options. And, of course, not all of us have the opportunity to use recyclable items for a number of different reasons.

At The Lightbox we try as much as possible to do our bit so most of the materials we use in our workshops are either recycled afterwards or upcycled and repurposed during our sessions. We have collected bottle caps, corks, kitchen rolls and people have donated all sorts of items, from straws to plastic cups to yoghurt pots for us to use. In addition to our upcycling and recycling policies, our building is also eco-friendly, with a sustainable energy source provided by the rooftop solar panels and natural air ventilation. As a result of our efforts, we were delighted to win a Green Tourism Award back in 2016 for our continuous commitment to the environment.

At the same time, our local community has been such an important part of keeping this ethos alive. We are incredibly lucky to receive every contribution, as many of the supplies we receive are used in our free family drop-in activities. Our Education Studio is also equipped with recycling bins and we encourage children and young people to dispose of their leftover materials as responsibly as possibly.

Coming up over the summer holidays, we are using bottle caps to make fun little crabs, yogurt and plastic cups for our bubble making pots, and, of course, our beloved corks for buzzing bumblebees. And that’s not all! There are loads more upcoming children’s workshops where we’ll be reusing donated items.

As such, we are constantly looking for new ways to employ resources before their potential last life and we have been busy researching how to recycle some of the things that are traditionally difficult to. Thin straws, for example, can get stuck in recycling machines, but if you iron them to create a big sheet of plastic, it can be recycled easily. This has proved to be a real game-changer for us when it comes to the huge donation pile of straws we have.

To find out more about what can be recycled in your area, as well as some tips on how to do it right, please visit either https://www.recyclenow.com/ or https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB.