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The Liverpool group helping people create with plastics instead of binning them

4 weeks ago

The Liverpool group helping people create with plastics instead of binning them

Volunteers in Liverpool are helping people to turn their plastics into something new instead of binning them.

Not all plastics can be recycled, so a huge amount ends up going to landfill, but Plastic Tactics is tackling the problem one creation at a time.

It holds workshops – Plastic Playgroups – which show people how to give a second life to everything from old Christmas chocolate tubs which are turned into kaleidoscopic plant pots, to carrier bags, yoghurt pots and even lemon or onion nets.

The sessions are held twice a month at DoES in the Fabric District and Arthur Rowland, who set up Plastic Tactics, says it’s a way of knowing exactly where your unwanted plastic is going.

He explains:

“We’ve all seen the scare stories and cynicism around recycling but this way you can recycle it yourself so you don’t have to wonder what happens to it,”

“We want to give people a fun and tactile way of engaging with plastic, whether they have a feeling of guilt around it or they have no particular interest in environmental issues. They can come to the workshops and melt and make, from whatever they’ve got to hand or what we have here.”

Plastic Tactics Liverpool

Arthur started Plastic Tactics five years ago, with the idea of having a hands-on local group to run alongside national campaigns about reducing waste. 

He said:

“This is at the more grassroots end, so it’s people getting around a table, getting hammers out and thinking, what can we actually make ourselves?”

“We have a whole range of people who come and get involved from those who’ve never made anything before and are maybe a bit tentative, to artists and everyone in between.

“One of the main workshops we do is package tactics, so it’s basically a soft plastics workshops where you re-use things like carrier bags and bubble wrap. It’s very accessible because all you really need is a clothes iron, greaseproof paper, scissors, and some health and safety and you can make wallets, purses, pencil cases, notebooks … 

“We also have an injection moulder so you can chop up the plastic into tiny bits, melt it, squeeze it through a tube and put it into a mould to make something. That’s how we turn sweet tubs into plant pots.

“Generally the plastics we make from are only used once before they’re disposed of and we invite people to bring along plastics with the numbers 2, 4 or 5 on them, within the three-arrow triangle. 

“Things don’t always have a number but once you’ve collected a few then you soon start to learn.”

The workshops can have anything between four and 30 volunteers depending on the day, but there’s always someone on hand to offer guidance to anyone who needs it.

“There’s no age limit, previous sessions have had a one-year-old and 80-year-olds, and as long as kids are supervised they’re welcome because we adapt what we do based on the age and ability of who’s there,” adds Arthur.

Plastic Tactics Liverpool

Plastic Tactics is a regular at Africa Oye’s Activity Zone, with creatives helping young recyclers to make everything from simple mosaics using bottle tops to jewellery.

And it’s working on creating a Plastic Playground near Picton Health Centre in Wavertree where people will be able to go along and make things.

Joe says there’s a satisfaction in reusing something and seeing it transformed.

“Even if you do put something in your recycling bin at home, you won’t ever know what its next life is, but with this you do and for me that’s part of the experience – to be able to connect where it came from and where it’s going. 

“That then hopefully plants a bit of a seed that you start to apply to other things so it has a wider positive effect. It’s keeping it in people’s hands and not landfill – swapping one everyday item for another and cutting out the waste.”

Plastic Tactics has workshops twice a month, every second and fourth Sunday, and the next one will be on Sunday May 12. Each session lasts three hours, from 2pm to 5pm, and you pay as you feel so it’s designed to be available to everyone. 

Find more information about their work here.

Find all the latest Liverpool news here.

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