Earth Day 2024: Reducing waste – one glove at a time

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is a reminder of the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability, encouraging us to come together and take action for a healthier planet and a brighter future.

As we commemorate Earth Day 2024, we're thrilled to share an exciting chapter in our ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability at Hampshire Cultural Trust. Today, we spotlight our initiative to recycle nitrile gloves and our efforts to collaborate with other museums in this important endeavour.

Where it all began

Nitrile gloves are used for conservation work at Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT). Conservators, Ruth James and Claire Woodhead, use these gloves regularly and have always tried to reuse them where possible. They felt strongly about reducing the amount of gloves thrown away and the impact of this on wildlife and the environment.  They wanted to find an alternative where the gloves could be recycled.

Ruth approached some known recycling schemes but was told that HCT did not match the criteria to take part in these schemes. Ruth then started looking for alternatives and found Ellie’s Fund, which is an initiative run through the Yorkshire Brain Tumour Charity: Ellie's Fund Recycling - Yorkshire's Brain Tumour Charity (

Ellie’s Fund initiative turns everyday rubbish into money for brain tumour research – the biggest cancer killer of children in the UK. So far, the charity has raised a massive £65k through recycling things people use every day. All the money raised from recycling is allocated to Ellie’s Fund and is spent on brain tumour research projects in Yorkshire.

This seemed like a very worthy cause to support, so Ruth and Claire started to collect their gloves at the trust’s central venue Chilcomb House.

Glove recycling across the trust

Ruth and Claire, founding members of the Chilcomb Green Team shared this information with the group, who saw it as a great action to help reduce waste at the trust and work towards the trust’s scopes one and two net zero commitments. This action also helped to support one of the trust’s environmental objectives: to engage with their sector, stakeholders, staff and volunteers for climate advocacy.

After identifying a charity that would recycle the nitrile gloves, Ruth then contacted the venue teams and set up an internal process of collecting nitrile gloves at several of its venues. Led by the HCT collections team, nitrile gloves used when handling, cleaning and conserving collections are now recycled as part of a charity initiative.

Ruth James and Claire Woodhead with nitrile gloves being counted and weighed for recycling.

A minimum consolidated weight of 8 kilogrammes of gloves must be collected to be sent off for recycling. This was the biggest challenge initially until all the trust’s venues were asked to donate their used gloves. It meant that gloves could be collected on a larger scale, getting closer to the 8k target.

With support from all of the trust’s venues, the Green Team successfully sent the first batch of gloves to the charity in January 2024. The gloves sent to Ellie’s Fund are sent off for recycling and made into secondary recycled goods such as benches and playgrounds. These items are then sold to raise money for the charity.

The outcome of the gloves collections couldn’t be more positive and HCT is now well on its way to a second 8kg load. The trust hopes, with the help of the rest of its sites and possible further connections, this will become an ongoing initiative.

Reaching out to external museums

In 2023, project managers Sinead Chan and Caroline Johnson presented at some external museum network events where the focus was environmental sustainability. HCT’s environmental progress was shared and this included the mention of the trust’s internal process around recycling nitrile gloves, which triggered interest from local museums and venues. Further interest was raised when several people asked if the trust’s internal process with the gloves could expand to a partnership opportunity. This feedback was shared with the environmental project team at the trust and it was decided that in 2024 HCT would look at introducing recycling bins for nitrile gloves at a number of its sites across Hampshire. The Green Team then contacted the Southeast Museum Development team with this update to share with external museums and venues.

The aim for 2024 is to connect with other Hampshire museums interested in working together to recycle nitrile gloves.

Find our more about our environmental policy and actions below:

Environment | Hampshire Cultural Trust
Hampshire Cultural Trust believes that culture can play a key role in tackling one of the biggest issues facing our planet: climate change. The trust is taking steps to increase education and awareness of climate change for our staff, volunteers and visitors, as well as actively seeking ways to protect the environment across the trust, both at our venues and on an individual level.



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Hampshire Cultural Trust

From museums to galleries to arts centres, we manage and support attractions across the county, welcoming over 740,000 people each year. Our charitable purpose is changing lives through culture.
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