The Waste Hierarchy – Reuse is the new Recycling

By Harry Wood

Last month I was lucky enough to attend an event at the Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre. Currently under construction, the site will be built and run by the national waste management company Viridor.  Though the event was focused largely on forging local business connections, the location made a big impression. It caused me to reflect on the position of Children’s Scrapstore (and scrapstores in general) in the world of waste management.

Resource Recovery Centres (RRC) are an alternative to landfilling non-recyclable waste. These centres incinerate waste at very high temperatures, releasing energy that is used to generate electricity. The gases this process produces are cleaned before being released through a chimney stack, while the ash produced in the incinerators is recycled into materials for the construction industry. According to Viridor, the Avonmouth RRC will divert 320,000 tonnes of waste away from landfill and will generate up to 32 megawatts of electricity, enough to power over 40,000 homes.

These impressive figures highlight the great strides that have been made in waste management over the last few decades. Yet it is worth emphasising that energy recovery is far from the preferred industry option. Such plants inevitably produce polluting emissions, and the energy produced through this process is only “partially renewable”.[1]  

Waste heirachy.jpg

As this hierarchy diagram demonstrates, energy recovery sits above waste treatment and waste disposal (i.e. landfill). Looking at the top, best practice is to avoid producing waste altogether, or else reducing such production. In the middle we see reuse and recycling. The benefits of the latter are well known, but it is worth dwelling on some specifics. Taking aluminium as an example, manufacturing cans with recycled aluminium uses 95 percent less energy than creating the same amount of aluminium from raw materials. This is because recycled materials “have already been refined and processed once; manufacturing the second time is much cleaner and less energy-intensive than the first.”[2] In turn, local and national economies benefit from a thriving recycling industry. Taking an example from California as recorded by Stanford University, for every job in recycling collection eight jobs are created through manufacturing new products from recycled materials.[3]  

 A large cable reel nicely upcycled by our downstairs neighbours Better Food.

A large cable reel nicely upcycled by our downstairs neighbours Better Food.

Yet recycling inevitably produces its own carbon emissions, from the fuel used by collection vehicles to the energy used to process rubbish into recycled material. This is not meant as vehement criticism; recycling keeps waste out of landfill and provides much needed materials for manufacturing. But in contrast to recycling, reuse “with little or no processing […] keep[s] materials out of the waste stream”.[4] This is where organisations like Children’s Scrapstore come to the fore. By collecting business waste from local companies that is too expensive for them to recycle, or else is non-recyclable and thus would otherwise go into landfill, we extend the life of waste material without producing significant carbon emissions.  Cable reels offer a good example, which are used by a huge number of manufacturers. We collect hundreds of cable reels per year, from small ones that are good for play activities through to enormous ones that can be upcycled into tables. We also receive a large amount of carpet, either as samples, offcuts, or end-of-range full rolls. Some of these are of extremely high quality and can help our members redecorate clubhouses, church halls, or even their own homes.  As the waste hierarchy indicates, reuse is always preferable to recycling, and scrapstores around the country play an important role in promoting and encouraging reuse.

[1] A varying proportion of non-recyclable material comes from “things that were recently growing and are biodegradable”, e.g. food, paper, wood. As such, this form of recovered energy can be considered “partially renewable”. See Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, ‘Energy from Waste: A Guide to the Debate’ (February 2014), 2-3.

[2] Stanford University, ‘Frequently Asked Questions: Benefits of Recycling’, https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-benefits-recycling, accessed 5th October 2018.  

[3] Ibid.

[4] ReDo, ‘Benefits of Reuse’, http://loadingdock.org/redo/Benefits_of_Reuse/body_benefits_of_reuse.html, accessed 5th October 2018.

When Does Art Become Playful?

wallace and grommit image.jpg

By Dan Rees-Jones

The Gromit Unleashed 2 exhibition arrived in Bristol this summer and thousands of people have enjoyed being in and around these unique and inviting sculptures. The exhibition mainly focussed around the centre of Bristol had thousands of children and adults alike going on trails, map reading and collecting “Gromits” along the way, developing their own unique style or system.

banksy.jpg

Banksy Vs Bristol Museum Is another good example of a ‘playful approach’ which suddenly transformed this quiet museum into a unique playground of art. Thousands of children and adults came to visit this unique phenomenon (some queueing as long as seven hours to get in)  through its playful and provocative approach. Because there was no list or guide to the takeover, the challenge became simply finding the art.

“Warning: contains scenes of a childish nature which some adults may find disappointing.” Banksy Vs Bristol Museum 2009

Something about these art exhibitions created something that switched something on inside us and made us keen to want to know or explore more. What is it that made them playful and engaging?  What is the correlation/relationship between art, play or playfulness and why do we need to consider art and creativity within play?

To begin we need to understand more about play, the universal language of childhood. It is through play that children understand each other and make sense of the world around them. Children learn so much from play; it teaches them social skills such as sharing, taking turns, self-discipline and tolerance of others. Children’s lives are improved by playing; it helps them learn and develop as individuals. Children enjoy playing because there is no ‘right or wrong way’, they can use their imagination to develop games and interact with each other without any adult help. They need opportunities for unstructured play, as over programming can spoil its true benefits. 

‘Play encompasses children's behaviour which is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. It is performed for no external goal or reward, and is a fundamental and integral part of healthy development - not only for individual children, but also for the society in which they live’ DCSF (2008) National Play Strategy

 The intrinsic nature of play means that when a child is playing there are many interpretations and possibilities inspiring them. For example; A patch of tarmac for example can become a crocodile infested river, a erupting volcano, a black hole, an ocean or space. 

Playing around with both physical and imaginary elements help children to make sense of themselves and the world around them. Whether Immersed in an imaginary world, taking a physical risk, or simply hanging out with friends all of these are considered to be playing but quite fundamentally different in approach.  Exploring both the physical and conceptual components that go into making or creating a rich playful environment helps us to understand the bond between art and play a bit further.  The late Professor Perry Else discusses in his book “The Integral Play Framework” Fig 1 which balances the experiences of the child in the tangible world of structures with the insubstantial world of feelings and beliefs.

  Else, Perry. 2009, The Value of Play

Else, Perry. 2009, The Value of Play

How adults and children perceive, view and interact with the world are contrasting. Children use play as a vehicle to develop an understanding of or apply a context to, or to make help sense of or simply to enjoy.  They live in the moment and can become fascinated or totally immersed by things that as adults we may not notice or feel are important enough to warrant investigation. Adults have been through this transition and they believe they have developed the understanding of themselves and the environments around them.  The playful curve plateaus as children transcend into adulthood.

“To make sense of a world in which much of what exists is abstract, children need to be able to explore the world of concepts.  This doesn’t mean that the concepts have to exist in reality.  Children have an embryonic awareness of abstracts like religion, philosophy and science from a relatively early age and need the time and permission to explore them.” Hughes, Bob 2001 The First Claim - A Framework For Quality Play Assessment 

On the whole the built environment is largely designed by and for adults, with some limited considerations for children. Developing public spaces also has many external factors such as planning, health and safety implications, financial restrictions, promoted activity and multi user functionality.  This can sometimes limit a creative approach or design and is often not accessible for children.

 Natural environments on the other hand offer more freedom and possibilities to both children and adults inviting the player to interact. A sandy beach for example provides an excellent stage for designing, building and destroying in a fun and playful context accessible to all.

The playful approach adopted by the Wallace and Gromit and Banksy exhibitions used art in a unique way within the built environment to bridges that gap thus making it accessible and playful to children as well as providing permission for adults to rediscover their hidden playful selves. Through these playful interpretations of the built environment the player is perhaps taken into the zone of complexity.

“Battram contends that: play exists only at the edge of chaos  - which means that play eixists only in the zone of complexity – a weird mixture, in uncertainty between order and chaos.” Arthur Battram 2007

“Often the play environment is seen as a purely physical space and therefore it is the provision for physical play which becomes more readily assessed, commented on or provided for. It is vital however to keep in mind that that is only a part of the play experience. Playable spaces must support as many dimensions of play as are possible.”  Cooper, Beth -  Simply Play – Development of the Tool

So the inter relationship between art, play and playfulness provides us with many interpretations and helps children develop, play with and understanding the environments surrounding them. I believe the consideration and use of art within any play environment or context is as important as the more traditional responses we have when planning, designing or supporting play for children.

To me, art is at its core inclusive. It’s inclusive in form, topic, and, hopefully, in creators and audience. Because art can be anything we want it to be, be about anything we want it to be, and be done for and by anyone, arts at its highest form brings people together and helps us reflect on our own humanity. Through art we can honor what makes us unique and celebrate what makes us all one.”  Ana Mendelson Founder and Director of the Autism Theatre Project.  

There are some playful art exhibitions coming to Bristol this autumn:

Bristol Family Arts Festival 2018

St Werburghs Arts Trail 2018

 

All's well that ends well, that's what I say.

Wallace and Gromit The Wrong Trousers 1993 

 

 

The Benefits Of Loose Parts

1.JPG

The Scrapstore PlayPod introduce a huge range of scrap materials such as cardboard tubes, tyres, lengths of material, netting, ropes, crates and bins into playtimes which extends the choices and possibilities of play for all children on a regular basis.  All of this business waste is sourced and donated from businesses for re use.

The unprescriptive nature of these loose parts in combination with children’s inventiveness and creativity results in them using the items in lots of different ways, enabling all ages, genders and abilities to find ways to play and socialise together. Let’s look at how they benefit from having these experiences.

Cardboard Tubes

(Source spools for thread)

 Great for building structures, developing resilience, problem solving and understanding properties of materials.

Great for building structures, developing resilience, problem solving and understanding properties of materials.

 Great props for children to use to develop imaginative or role play scenarios, developing narrative and expression.

Great props for children to use to develop imaginative or role play scenarios, developing narrative and expression.

 Useful tools to engage in playful combat, developing skills in gross and fine motor skills, practicing emotional regulation and ‘Playing out’ situations in a safe and emotionally secure environment. Children also learning about boundaries through taking risks in their play.

Useful tools to engage in playful combat, developing skills in gross and fine motor skills, practicing emotional regulation and ‘Playing out’ situations in a safe and emotionally secure environment. Children also learning about boundaries through taking risks in their play.

Computers & Keyboards 

 Excellent props for helping play out every day life situations helping children understand concepts such as work and relationships.

Excellent props for helping play out every day life situations helping children understand concepts such as work and relationships.

Woodchip Wheels

(Source roll endings for fabric)

 Allows children opportunities for 'deconstruction' developing skills in manipulation and fine motor skills as well as developing a better sense of understanding.

Allows children opportunities for 'deconstruction' developing skills in manipulation and fine motor skills as well as developing a better sense of understanding.

 Creates opportunities for problem solving a creating, making links and connections with other scrap. Great for social interaction and developing friendships whilst having great fun.

Creates opportunities for problem solving a creating, making links and connections with other scrap. Great for social interaction and developing friendships whilst having great fun.

 Adds risk and challenge into the play and helps children develop skills in managing risks for themselves.

Adds risk and challenge into the play and helps children develop skills in managing risks for themselves.

Fabrics

 Working together and collaborating in groups building dens, offices and many other types of wonderful creations.

Working together and collaborating in groups building dens, offices and many other types of wonderful creations.

 Working together and collaborating in groups building dens, offices and many other types of wonderful creations.

Working together and collaborating in groups building dens, offices and many other types of wonderful creations.

 Providing the backdrop and parts to childrens imaginative play.

Providing the backdrop and parts to childrens imaginative play.

We want to continue to make brilliant  play times for children all over the UK in more schools but we need your help.  We collect waste and are always looking for new items of scrap and new suppliers to donate to us to support better play times for children.   This service is free and we divert around 200 tonnes from landfill each year.


What We Collect

Materials we collect are wide ranging:

  • Production off cuts and by products

  • Rejected quality control batches

  • Bankrupt and redundant stock

  • Bulk quantities of unused raw materials, components and packaging

What Are The Benefits? 

By utilising our free service can benefit your organisation in many ways including. 

  • Reduced waste

  • Contribution to ISO 14001 / BS 8555

  • An annual certificate for CSR /waste audit trail purposes

  • Free collection - no charge

  • Quantities from a few boxes to 100s pallets

Please contact us with any queries or to discuss our services on 0117 3041780