Exhibition highlights benefits of recycling for schools, ordinary viewers

This Thursday saw the opening of a new exhibition in Prague focusing on the benefits of recycling. The Czechs are among the best in Europe when it comes to the recovery and recycling of many plastics, but more progress can still be made on the recycling of other items, including PET bottles, paper and glass.

Brána recyklace II – or the Gate of Recycling – opened in a small gallery space at City Hall’s Škoda Palace on Thursday, focussing on the importance of recycling – everything from reused plastics to old tires. Handbags, tooth brushes, door mats, you name it, all are featured as attractive recycled items, on view for free until the end of the month. The show should be of special interest to schools: through interactive portals students will be able to learn about the recycling process and examine different objects up close. At the opening, I spoke to Šárka Nováková, the spokeswoman for EKO-KOM, a firm authorised with organising recycling in the Czech Republic.

“At this exhibition you can see recycled materials that we use everyday, materials that many people don’t realise were really recycled. Many people don’t realise that they are using such items often.”

Are all the objects from the Czech Republic or are any also from abroad?

“Mostly they are from the Czech Republic but some items, such as the handbags, are from Austria, recycled from PET bottles or paper. They are fashionable and look good and are good for Nature.”

According to Šárka Nováková and other organisers, many of the items on view are commonly available in stores, among them a floor mat from old tires designed to look like the lid from a New York City sewer - the kind of thing young students will get a kick out of when their class visits. Spokeswoman Šárka Nováková again:

“We have a programme here for children with a teacher who will show them how to sort waste and to tell them more about all kinds of materials. They’ll do that and will also have a chance to win some prizes here.”

Many Czechs are already very conscientious about recycling plastics but lag behind on other materials such as biodegradable waste: this exhibition, which lasts until the end of April, may inspire younger generations to do that much better.