Natural environment  |  Successes  |  14.12.2011

PRZETWORY – creative recycling for society, planet and economy

Przetwory is a Polish initiative aimed at the promotion of recycling in spheres such as fine arts, architecture, applied art, jewellery. The underlying concept of all events is the perception of recycling as a creative act holding cultural, artistic, social, educational and environmental values. Therefore, recycling is meant to acquire a status of shared, interactive experience.

Since 2006 the group founded by three women has been carrying out its mission during various festivals, workshops, meetings and cultural happenings. Organizers and volunteers collect old fabrics, pieces of furniture, retro appliances, second-hand objects and recycled materials for the purpose of three-day-long open festivals. In this way, designers enjoy a unique opportunity not only to produce art in an environmentally-friendly way, but also to share their knowledge, ideas and skills with wide audiences, green their awareness and benefit cognitively from such interaction. What’s more, everyone can profit from the chance to purchase these unique exhibits.

Combined with design workshops, the International Recycling Festival Preserves gathers annually circa 3,000 visitors and designers. Throughout the whole year, PRZETWORY organises various design-related events for both children and adults, professionals and laypeople. This movement organized ecological design workshops whose underlying principle was to create things made up in 70% of recycled materials, not least because people and Earth consist of water to the same degree.

The idea behind creative recycling is not confined to environmental aspects. PRZETWORY and related artistic groups such as “Wzorowo” have been fostering transition towards responsible consumerism and highlighting the significance of traditional handicraft, thus promoting niche markets and sustainable development. Ecodesign goes hand in hand with an alternative notion of marketing – hand-made products are sold without mainstream promotion strategies. PRZETWORY has also sparked off a debate of the social mission and accountability of design in the light of global issues such as poverty, climate change, growing inequalities. By supporting ecodesign, it proves both the beauty and functionality of recycled products in order to combat stereotypes and convince people that ecological is attractive and trendy. On the website of PRZETWORY (available in Polish and English) people can share ideas about the development of ecological design, thus providing artists with inspiration for further inventions.

Recycling embarks on vast expansion into further branches. Waste gets transformed not only into works of art, but also pieces of jewellery. “Ecoist” specializes in designing necklaces, brooches, rings, bracelets from PET bottles, thus serving crucial environmental and social goals. Such products are powerful reminders of the scale in which our planet is burdened with garbage. Additionally, they caution against the waste of natural resources, materials and change common notion of waste by emphasising its potential for application in various spheres of everyday life. From this perspective, waste is to be perceived rather as a point of departure for creativity and do-it-yourself experiments. It is worth remarking that green-oriented fashion also displays upward trend as designers tend to use second-hand clothes for their new projects. Just as second hand becomes increasingly fashionable, so does barter. PRZETWORY launched website www.thingo.pl where people exchange things and designers present their works.

PRZETWORY refocuses public attention and fosters the switch from disposable to durable products, from conspicuous consumerism to the rethink-reduce-reuse-recycle- approach. Seeing that Earth is being increasingly flooded with waste, urgent action is indispensable and creative design provides an inspiring, cost-effective, feasible, practical and long-term solution. Not to mention sheer bliss derived from creative acts in keeping with “Veni, Vidi, Recycli” principle.

Opracowanie: zespół www.zielonyistytut.pl

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