Recycling, reuse, reduce… How many times have we heard about these three words recently? I have been thinking quite a lot about the issue with plastic waste and, inspired by people like Théla and 3QUARTERS, I started my personal research on how to commit to a more sustainable life. Thanks to them I discovered Plastikourgeio, a plastic-free shop and recycling lab in central Athens.
I first got in contact with Daphne and Fran last year by email as I decided to buy some eco-friendly items from their e-shop. I dropped them an email to say hi and to reveal in advance that I was waiting to be in Athens to go and meet them as their project looked so exciting.
We met recently when I was in town for some time and it was as I had expected, Daphne and Fran are such lovely and inspirational people!
They met in London as Daphne used to live there and they decided to come back to Greece as it might be easier for a family to live here rather than in the City. We shared our experiences as we both moved to Greece from the U.K., although I moved to an island. I sometimes believe that living on an island is quite hard but when I am in Athens I also get that living in a city is not an easy thing, it really depends on your lifestyle and rhythm. We discussed the plastic waste and recycling problem on islands as well, where there are so many things you could do to improve the thoughtfulness of people but where there are also some real barriers that you cannot overcome easily (see water issue for example).
Daphne showed me around Plastikourgeio which is both a shop and a lab. The shop sells plastic-free objects which are 100% friendly to the environment. They are disposable or reusable and made of natural materials (bamboo, palm leaves) so completely recyclable and compostable, a great alternative to plastic objects in our everyday life.
And then there is the lab, this fantastic place where the magic of Plastikourgeio happens! Here you can see the machines that cut, melt and create new objects! Here junk becomes valuable and they use their creativity through recycling! Plastikourgeio is a proud member of the Precious Plastic Community and here you can see how these machines work! Isn’t it beautiful?
Daphne and Fran also create a community in the area, being a collecting point: people can go and drop their coffee cups, water bottles or they can collect from nearby shops, cafes, offices…
I love this initiative as it becomes also a way to educate people on how to minimize the damage caused by plastic waste.
The visit to Plastikourgeio had a strong impact on me. Daphne and Fran are two sweet and quiet people, they do not raise their voice when they talk (I do, but I am Italian, that’s another story!), they speak very consciously about their project and about their dreams. They could be my neighbours (I wish!), my friends (we are now!), they are people like me and you. They trust what they are doing and they are adding, drop by drop, their belief into the others.
When you think about changing something, you always think that you are not enough, you give yourself justifications in order not to start either. But I really believe in the power of (positive) examples: I see what Diti, Gary and John, Daphne and Fran are doing and I know that I can be part of this small but strong team which is growing day by day!
It’s people like them, so like us, that will make the change. I strongly believe this.
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©Nicoletta Barbata/One Quarter Greek