As I was finishing a sustainability audit with the staff at Dumbarton House (DC) I asked "...so is there anything that just bugs you? Maybe it's a green opportunity."
Jerry Foust, collections manager, grabbed purple nitrile gloves from his pocket and said "yes, these! We throw so many away; can we recycle them?"
Well it took over a year and the help of the Sustainable Museums team to sort through the options, but we uncovered ways to reduce the negative environmental impact of those gloves you use for collections care.
Green doesn't trump mission, so collections care is the priority, but there are ways to green your gloves. With permission we adapted the familiar chart prepared by Claire S. Barker. It now includes reduce/reuse/recycle options for the types of glove you may consider for collections care -- and it discusses going glove-free.
We hope you'll use the guide to review your choices, and to redirect any used gloves to avoid the landfill. If you use Nitrile, Latex, or rubber gloves, you can collect and ship your gloves for just $87 - and they'll be upcycled. For little historic sites, no worries, it takes less than a square foot of space for the collection box.
You can even collect used gloves for area museums...each museum can take turns hosting the recycling box. Each of you will take a step toward Zero Waste!
The Sustainable Museums Team: Sarah Sutton, Lia O'Donnell, Denise Mix, John Mayer, and Elizabeth Greeno