What can museums and galleries recycle?

Museums and galleries play a vital role in preserving our greatest treasures.

Entirely consistent with their commitment to protecting the natural and artistic riches of our past is the responsibility of minimising their own contribution to ongoing environmental harm.

A key component in achieving that goal is the implementation of effective recycling programs.

Museum and gallery managers will be well acquainted with the usual recyclables such as paper and cardboard, along with other high-volume wastes such as packaging materials.

And with many institutions relying on cafes and restaurants to bolster their income, things like glass and plastic bottles, food waste and steel cans will also likely be earmarked for recycling.

But there are many other types of waste that often get overlooked when it comes to recycling, even though viable recycling schemes exist and the alternative – dumping waste in landfill – comes with a significant environmental cost.

Here are some key waste types that should be on the recycling lists of every museum and gallery.


Batteries play in increasingly important role in powering the devices that all organisations rely on.

While rechargeable batteries go a long way to reducing the volume of battery waste we generate, all batteries eventually ‘die’.

Fortunately, whether rechargeable or single use, all batteries can be recycled.


Electronic waste refers to anything that runs off a mains power supply or a battery and that has reached the end of its effective life.

However, effective e-waste recycling programs mainly focus on computers and peripherals (printers, keyboards, etc), televisions, mobile phones, and games consoles.

Lighting waste

Galleries and museums pay great attention to the lighting of their exhibits, but may pay less attention to the ultimate fate of lighting once it is disposed of.

Unfortunately, most lighting waste still ends up in landfill.

This includes mercury-containing fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent lamps that, due to their sheer number, represent a significant source of environmental mercury pollution.

However, viable recycling programs exist for all types of lighting, including those that contain mercury.

Simple solutions

Ecocycle is a specialist recycler of battery, lighting and other e-waste.

More importantly for gallery and museum managers, we offer a fully integrated collection and recycling service. We even provide the collection bins.

In fact, it only takes a phone call to get the ball rolling.

If you’re ready to take your gallery or museum to the next level of recycling, give us a call on 1300 326 292 or fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to explain all.


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