Repurposing Waste Plastic

A Near Now Fellowship project in collaboration with Future Makers

Posted on 2nd February 2023

Written by Near Now

We've teamed up with Future Makers to test ways of using recycled plastic for creative projects.

Near Now x Future Makers: Repurposing Waste Plastic

We're working with Nottingham’s new hub for entrepreneurial artists, designers and makers: Future Makers. It’s here that Broadway is supporting cultural producer and Future Makers director Tristan Hessing to build a plastic repurposing studio which will create new ways for makers to engage with recycled plastic and explore its usefulness as a fabrication material.

Artists and makers have been at the forefront of innovation for decades, and many revolutions begin in a small way on a local level.

This Fellowship opportunity is focused on supporting the research and development behind this venture, trialling localised circular economy processes, diverting waste plastic from landfill, and working with local creatives to launch projects which can demonstrate the studio's value.

Our aim is to test how waste plastic can be used in the creation of artworks, products and objects that spark conversations and encourage us to think more deeply about our own plastic waste.

An early example of sheet material made from waste plastic at Future Makers

An early example of sheet material made from waste plastic at Future Makers

Why now?

Reducing plastic pollution is part of the fight against climate change.

  • Many plastics end up in the ocean, where they release greenhouse gases as they slowly break down.
  • Plastic incineration is a significant source of air pollution.
  • Establishing a circular economy is crucial to reduce plastic pollution.

(World Economic Forum)

“Approximately 7 billion of the 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic produced from 1950-2017 became plastic waste, ending up in landfills or dumped.”

Current recycling processes are inefficient, with huge amounts of the UK's waste plastic illegally dumped or burned and creating environmental disasters in other countries where it is exported to.

In the UK, over five million tonnes of plastic is consumed each year, and less than 10% of everyday plastic actually gets recycled.

To start addressing this problem, Future Makers and Near Now have identified an opportunity. For makers and creators, recycled plastic could be an ideal affordable material for prototyping and making. By combining the creativity of art and design with the environmental practicality of reusing plastic, we can build a new local circular economy that creates artworks, objects and products that have purposeful, long-term uses.

The UK exports the equivalent of three and a half Olympic swimming pools of plastic waste every day

Greenpeace analysis, April 2021

Why Broadway?

Here at Broadway, we have an ambitious environmental policy and action plan in order to reduce our impact on the environment. Partnering with positive initiatives that are driving change can only help and drive our personal mission to reduce landfill waste.

Our hope is that this project will drive a wider conversation about how approaches to recycling can be improved on a local and global scale, and inspire visitors to Broadway to look into the plastic they use and throw away.

What is Future Makers?

Future Makers is a 9,000 sq ft event space by Nottingham's Trent Basin development area, with facilities aimed at entrepreneurial artists and makers. It’s a place where collaborations and innovations that feed into our local circular economy can be built.

To begin this quiet revolution, plans are already in motion to get its small-scale plastic repurposing studio off the ground. This will give Nottingham's creative community two things: easy access to recycled plastic for use as a material, and a place to learn about the nuance of plastic to change our relationship with it.

Find out more at

Want to know more?

Find out more about the project and upcoming opportunities on our Stories page or by signing up to Broadway's email newsletter. Follow the bigger vision for the plastic repurposing studio at Future Makers.

Read Broadway’s Environmental Policy and Action Plan, and find out more about our mission as a cultural leader for independent cinema, arts and technology in the Midlands.

What is Broadway's Near Now Fellowship?

Near Now works with pioneering artists to create bold new work and drive innovation, while also helping to develop and showcase the skills of Nottingham’s growing arts and tech community. Broadway's Near Now Fellowship is a platform to support artists in taking their work to a new level, challenging their practice and pushing their careers forward.


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