Earth Day 2018: Ending Plastic Pollution

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Posted 22nd April 2018

Earth Day 2018 is all about ending plastic pollution.

'From poisoning and injuring marine life to […] littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet.'

Here at Watts Gallery – Artists' Village the environment is especially important to us, not least because of the precious natural beauty we're so fortunate to have on our doorstep as residents in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Cutting down on our plastic consumption has therefore been an important part of our strategy for a number of years now. Since the Gallery's renovation in 2011, for example, the Shop at Watts Gallery - Artists' Village has in collaboration with the Art Fund been using paper bags instead of plastic; that's approximately 100,000 plastic bags we've avoided using.

This understanding is rooted in our founders' ideals. When our Grade I and II* listed Arts & Crafts buildings were first constructed, provisions were put in place to ensure that they functioned sustainably and with minimal impact on the surrounding landscape. Since 1904 we have been recycling rainwater, harvested via an underground cistern and redistributed throughout our estate. The site is also equipped with a ground source heat pump and a sewage recycling system that recycles waste into safe, clean water.

But we can and must do more.

That's why today we're announcing that every member of staff at Watts Gallery - Artists' Village will be given a reusable coffee cup for use off- and onsite (at our wonderful Tea Shop), in a bid to reduce the number of disposable coffee cups we use both when at work and at home. We've also founded a staff-led Environmental Sustainability Working Group, tasked with lessening our impact on the environment and reducing our carbon emissions.

In the face of a changing climate, these small steps are part of an initiative to instigate a shift in our culture locally at the Artists' Village, as we strive to become a front runner for environmentally sustainable practice among museums in the South East.