Driving Change

Here are some of the recent initiatives Beamish Museum has undertaken to make a positive impact….

  • Refill water stations – we are part of the Northumbrian Water Refill Campaign which means our visitors can fill up their refillable bottles with tap water in areas around the museum.
  • Waste – changed to clear, decomposable bags, in all areas for dry mixed waste, as well as increasing the number of recycling bins in offices and mess rooms. The museum’s Maintenance Team has built a new Recycle Station in the Tea Rooms in The 1900s Town.
  • Our magazines are printed on carbon-balanced paper and postal copies are wrapped in a 100 per cent recyclable polythene – a much greener option.
  • Cleaning materials – changed to more environmentally-friendly cleaning materials that use an e-dose system to reduce the need for plastic bottles.
  • Changed to low wattage heaters to reduce energy usage.
  • Using recyclable disposable products in catering outlets, looking at what products we use in preparation such as cling film and changing to biodegradable more eco-friendly wrap.
  • We have signed the County Durham Single Use Plastics Pledge and are committed to working towards ultimately removing the use of unnecessary single use plastics from the museum. Many County Durham businesses, schools, groups and individuals have already signed the County Durham Single Use Plastics Pledge. Could you? Click here to download the flyer.

What are we doing now?

Beamish has a Green Team, made up of Sustainability Champions from all areas of the museum, who are advocating change for a greener more sustainable future. We have held competitions to reward members of staff and volunteers seen to be going the extra sustainable mile.  New monthly initiatives have been encouraging staff to: bring a lunch box to work to save on packaging; reduce energy costs by turning off all lights at the end of the day; contributing to the Terracyle/Walkers Crisp Packet Recycling Scheme; and collecting green milk bottle tops which are recycled locally into furniture and funds raised donated to Macmillan.

Throughout 2019, we are looking to introduce period-style recycling bins in all visitor areas, as well as changing lighting in period areas to LED where possible (our Electricians have found period-style lightbulbs). We will continue to work with suppliers to reduce packaging and work with those who follow the museum’s principles of working towards a more sustainable future. We are also working to reduce single use plastic usage, and will be making improvements to our toilets, introducing more efficient hand dryers in toilets and cistimisers in urinals to reduce water wastage.

Staff and volunteers are encouraged to:

  • Minimise their energy use by turning equipment off after use, reducing heating temperatures and switching off lights, heating, and other electrical equipment when buildings are not being used.
  • Reuse and recycle all resources and equipment once used.
  • Prevent the waste of electricity, fuel, water and other resources.
  • Purchase equipment, services and resources from local sustainable sources.
  • Prevent the uncontrolled use of chemicals and seek out alternative solutions.
  • Reduce waste through careful planning of operations and projects.

We regularly advocate new monthly initiatives to encourage our staff and volunteers to be more sustainable such as Crisp Packet Recycling, Think Before You Print, Lights Off, Spring into Action (turn down the heating!), and our latest thinking about how we travel to work and car sharing/cycling.


  • Suppliers are selected from those who have a clear environmental policy. Those who supply locally-produced goods and sustainable, environmentally-friendly products will be preferred wherever possible. Suppliers will be encouraged to take back packaging and old equipment whenever possible to comply with WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and packaging regulations.


  • Visitors will be encouraged to participate in recycling bottles, cans and other materials at specific recycling points throughout the museum.