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Techniquest ‘takes a stand against plastic’ and bids farewell to popular exhibit

Educational charity Techniquest is on a mission to become more environmentally friendly as Cardiff’s leading science centre is “taking a stand against plastic”.

Picture by Nick Treharne:

The science discovery centre, based in Cardiff Bay, is taking steps to ensure its exhibition space is more eco-friendly after removing one of its most popular displays.

As part of its commitment to the environment, Techniquest has now decommissioned its popular The Big Machine exhibit, which has been based at Techniquest since 2016.

The Big Machine utilises recycled plastic pellets, similar to plastic nurdles, with campaigners estimating that over 53million escape into the environment and can be found on beaches across the world.

These nurdles then pose a detrimental threat to marine life, with experts warning that they soak up chemical pollutants, releasing toxins to the animals that consume them.

With no viable alternative to the nurdles, Techniquest bid farewell to The Big Machine on the 11th of June as part of its environmental mission.

Techniquest decided to take action after scientific research highlighted that over 85% of ocean and beach debris is made up of plastic microfibres, while figures show that eight million metric tons of plastic ends up in the sea every year.

As part of this new journey, the science discovery centre will also look at adding new attractions to its collection of over 120 exhibits. Many will be based on environmental science, filling a gap in the centre’s current programming and encouraging environmental mindfulness.

Its new project, The Science Capital, which aims to transform the current building with an extension, will also look at other environmentally conscious measures such as solar panels.

Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO at Techniquest, said:

“Over the last couple of years, Techniquest has worked with partners like RSPB, the Marine Conservation Society and critically, our local community, to begin addressing environmental and biodiversity issues.

“With many organisations taking a stand against harmful plastics, we’re joining them and working towards a more sustainable future. While we’re saddened to see one of our most popular exhibits leave the building, we’re proud to be an organisation that takes our social responsibility seriously.”

James Summers, Head of Projects at Techniquest said: “It is now more important than ever that we acknowledge the issues our environment is facing and what we can all do to help.

“Our Big Machine exhibit is highly popular and engaging, however the material it runs on is very similar to plastic nurdles that are causing environmental concern across the world.

“As part of our commitment to environmental science, we are now removing this exhibit to acknowledge the research and findings of environmental scientists, and to ensure that we do not contribute to the plastic issues the world is facing.”

Dr Sue Kinsey, Senior Pollution Policy Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “It is wonderful that people are really taking the message of plastic pollution seriously and thinking about how to reduce plastic pollution in so many different ways.

“Every step, taken by individuals, organisations or governments to reduce the input of plastics especially microplastics into the environment is a step closer to pollution-free seas and coasts. We want to thank Techniquest for contributing to the solution and awareness of this environmental concern.”