• SiC

Recycling resolutions


Author: Zoe Bedford


With the new year come resolutions, and one of our team’s resolutions is to recycle more. Although we talk about sustainability in terms of the materials, solvents and other substances commonly used in conservation, recycling is not often mentioned. The most obvious reason? It is not easy. With problems like contamination and individual safety, reusing and recycling is complicated.


In a forum post from a while back we were asked about the recycling of scalpel blades by conservators. Some countries, or even council areas, have clear policies but others do not, unless it is recognised as medical waste. While researching this, it became clear that the recycling for a lot of our materials is not just unclear, but also not really discussed.


Programs like Terracycle are accessible in a number of countries and have procedures for everything from shampoo bottles to disposable gloves. Although they are very useful, not every country has similar schemes, and some are quite limited in their scope.

With that in mind, we are launching a new database for SiC, and this needs your input. We are gathering names of recycling companies running at international, national and local level, private or government funded. This is not an endorsement of the organisations listed, but merely an aid to see what is available in your area. The database will allow you to share local information with your fellow peers.

To make a start, we have looked at the United Kingdom. This first list so far includes international big names such as Terracycle, as well as local computer recycling organisations. Every month we will gather new suggestions from around the world and add them to the database.


Want to help? Email us here or share with us on social media with #SiCRecycle.

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Sustainability in Conservation is an online network providing resources and information about environmentally responsible practices  in art conservation and related fields. Within a practice that produces so much waste, we hope to inspire collaboration and awareness to make cultural heritage a more sustainable profession. 

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