As of today, a huge rise in plastic awareness can be witnessed compared to let’s say 10 years ago. But a lot of people have no choice which products to consume and by far other concerns than the environmental impact of their life: on the Greek island Samos, insufficient waste management meets one of the biggest refugee camps in Europe. More than 7500 people are provided with bottled water and pre-packed meals every day—while in that city of make-shift shelters there’s no such thing as garbage trucks.
Our solution is an open recycling workspace where we will design and develop products together with refugees and locals and manufacture those products by recycling plastic waste. By that, we don’t just establish a circular economy within the camp but at the same time empower the inhabitants of the island to create whatever they need the most in their current living situation. The foundation of this project is a strong grassroots community, keen on learning new skills and joining forces to fix what seems unfixable. Keeping the material flow as local as possible we demonstrate transparently the potential of recycling and at the same time save a lot of carbon emissions on shipping, dumping and incineration.
We need to watch, observe, study, touch—make something in order to really understand it. Things only take meaning when we start giving them one. In the end, it’s about the perception of “waste” and the empowerment through creation.