Chester Zoo Unveils Giant Interactive Works of Art Highlighting The Waste we Generate

Chester Zoo has unveiled a new exhibition of eight giant interactive works of art which are made entirely from waste and they hope to encourage us to make more sustainable choices.  Find out more from Chester Zoo here …


A new exhibition of giant interactive works of art, all made from different forms of rubbish and waste, is set to open at Chester Zoo.

Love it for Longer, which runs at Chester Zoo from 11 June until mid-October, features eight huge installations created by six different artists, each formed from discarded plastic rubbish, old fabrics, unwanted technology, rainwater and even animal dung.

It’s being unveiled as the world-renowned zoo celebrates its 90th anniversary as a leading wildlife charity.

Zoo conservationists and the artists behind the sculptures say it’s the first time an exhibition of this scale, which encourages audiences to make more sustainable choices, has been staged in the UK.

Love it for Longer will champion sustainability across all facets of day-to-day life and aims to show how the world can become a waste-free zone, if people work together.

It’s hoped that the art – which includes includes a 20-foot-long chameleon made from recycled shampoo bottles, a sculpture that turns rainwater into music and a maze created from unwanted fabric – will highlight how problematic waste streams are to the natural world and provoke conversations and inspire positive change.

Dom Strange, Director of Operations at Chester Zoo, said:

“It’s fair to say that Chester Zoo’s new exhibition is total, utter trash – quite literally! Love it for Longer is a sustainability spectacular and the first time these incredible installations, all made from different forms of rubbish and waste, have been seen together, anywhere on the planet.

“As a leading conservation charity we need to make a significant contribution to reducing waste and inspire others to do the same. So, we’ve now committed to working towards becoming a zero waste zoo by 2030. It’s by no means going to be easy and we’ve lots to learn ourselves, but our ambition is that in 10 years’ time we want to reuse, repurpose, recycle or compost as much of the materials that we use here at the zoo, to further protect the environment.

What we very much want this bold, new exhibition to do is start a conversation about all of the things we throw away and inspire anyone who sees it to join the zoo on our journey to zero waste. I’m sure visitors to the exhibition will have loads of fantastic ideas that they can share both with us and others, which will make a massive difference here at the zoo and in people’s day-to-day lives at home.”

The artists involved with the display say they want to inspire people to change the way they think about the things they might usually dispose of.

Rowan Cannon and Sarah Bird,
directors at award-winning outdoor arts organisation Wild Rumpus who are producing the event in partnership with Chester Zoo, said.

“We’re surrounded by rubbish and waste – it’s everywhere! Love it for Longer looks at sustainability across all facets of our day-to-day. Wild Rumpus want to change the world from the bottom up, from poo to plastics, food to fabric waste, energy to electronic devices. Working with some amazing artists and makers, zoo audiences are invited to join us on a transformational journey towards a more sustainable future. Love it for Longer audiences will be empowered to make more sustainable choices in their everyday lives in a fun and engaging way.”

The exhibition will build on plans outlined in Chester Zoo’s new ‘Conservation Masterplan’ – a 10-year promise to make a significant contribution to tackling the global extinction crisis, which launched in March. Part of the promise includes a path for the zoo to achieve carbon net zero and work towards zero waste in its operations by 2030, as well as ensure the procurement of deforestation free commodities in all of its supply chains. Already the zoo utilises products only containing sustainably grown palm oil and has led a movement to make Chester the world’s first Sustainable Palm Oil City.

Ahead of the exhibition opening, the zoo has also moved to remove all plastic drinks bottles from sale across all of its food and beverage outlets.

Dom added:

The world is heading towards a biodiversity crisis and, for many species, it’s a case of now or never. We all have to act for our planet, and act quickly. That’s why one of the small immediate changes we’re making ahead of the exhibition opening, is to stop the sale of all plastic drinks bottles at the zoo. Bold actions like this do, of course, have a financial impact and, as a charity that relies almost entirely on income from visitors to carry out its work, lots of things have to be weighed up when making such a decision. However, we have to find ways to adapt, change and create demand for sustainable alternatives. There are bigger things at stake. This is the first of many moves we’ll be making on our sustainability journey.”

Love it for Longer is being created by Wild Rumpus, the social enterprise that has worked with Chester Zoo on its wintertime event, The Lanterns, since 2017.

Most of the materials used in the making of the exhibition are reused or recycled objects that would usually have been thrown away and, when it leaves the zoo in October, it will be installed elsewhere in the county to enable other people to see it.

Love it for Longer is free with normal zoo admission.

What you can see and do at Chester Zoo’s new Love it for Longer exhibition:

Wasteland (highlighting food waste)

chester zoo love it for longer wasteland

A geo-dome made from wind damaged trees will house the zoo’s Wasteland food zone and features a series of giant, eight-feet-tall sculptures of leftover food stuffs. Inside, visitors will be encouraged to share their top tips for reducing food waste and, through a series of masterclasses (some delivered by the zoo’s own chefs), discover how to get the most out of food that might usually be thrown away.

Growing food puts huge pressure on the environment, with wildlife habitats often cleared to make space to grow it. The zoo has long championed consuming food which is certified only as sustainably grown but its experts say another way to help the environment is through people only buying what they really need.

Power Plant (highlighting technological waste)

chester zoo love it for longer power plant

Many of us have unused computers, tablets, phones and game consoles lying around the house. But what can we do with them? Take a look inside the zoo’s Power Plant, an inflatable forest (made from old tents that have been thrown away), and hop on to exercise bikes to create enough power up an array of old, unwanted technology.

The zoo will shine a light on what people can do to love their technology for longer and dispose of it safely – so other people can make use of it too. From repair workshops to swap shops and recycling – the zoo’s education experts will have lots of top tips.

Conservationists at the zoo are passionate about reducing technological waste having seen first-hand the scale of the mining that takes place to dig up the precious metals that make up most gadgets, and the impact this has on wildlife.


Plastics Garden (highlighting single-use plastic waste)

chester zoo love it for longer symphonic rain

Zoo staff have picked up as many plastic bottles and discarded carrier bags they could find and will be transforming them into a beautiful garden. Zoo education experts will be sharing ideas for plastic alternatives and also some quirky ideas about how to reuse the plastic people already have.

It’s long been the zoo’s ambition to move away from single use plastics and already it has removed more than two million pieces from its annual usage. Now, the zoo is looking to go further and has committed to removing all single use plastic from its visitor operation. Any plastic that the zoo just can’t avoid will be reused, repurposed or recycled.


Symphonic Rain (highlighting waste water)

chester zoo love it for longer symphonic rain

A three-metre tall sculpture made from recycled steel will release drops of rainwater onto tuned discs to make music. The zoo’s team will be on hand to inspire people to think of brand new ways to keep water moving and highlight the importance of saving water.

The zoo has already taken a number of steps to reduce the amount of water it uses and to reuse waste water, helping its wonderful array of plants, including rare orchids and pitcher plants, to grow.

Hand-me-down Maze (highlighting fabric waste)

chester zoo love it for longer hand me down maze

A huge maze made out of fabrics that would normally have been thrown away. Visitors are invited to get lost among the unwanted fabric and discover ways to upcycle and learn to love second hand stuff again along the way. The zoo’s education team will also be around to show how certain materials are far more recyclable than others.

Pootopia (yep… highlighting dung and other brown, smelly waste)

From paper made from elephant poo to energy inspired by rhino dung, Pootopia will show visitors a pooey transformation right before their eyes. Discover different ways to use animal waste and ideas for how the smelly stuff can be useful.

The Junkyard

chester zoo love it for longer the junkyard
A creative workshop space where junk goes to be reborn. Visitors are invited to take along their own junk and find all kinds of ways to it into jewels, things that can be treasured for years to come. The Junkyard will also play host to a programme of exciting events, talks and classes about recycling, repurposing and reducing consumption and waste, throughout the summer.

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