Daphne Marneli and her husband Fran Vargas were vacationing on Serifos island two summers ago when they were told that they could not drink the tap water. They started to buy bottled water. At the end of their holiday, they balked at the sheer volume of plastic water bottles they had gone through.
When they got back to their home in Athens they were determined to do something about plastic garbage. They came across Dave Hakkens and his initiative called Precious Plastic. Dave Hakkens shows how easy it is to set up your own plastic recycling unit with very basic machinery. It is then just a matter of collecting plastic garbage, shredding it, and molding it into new objects or plastic thread which can be used for 3D printers.
Daphne and Fran decided to set up their own plastic recycling plant in their neighbourhood in Athens. "Plastikourgeio" was born earlier in 2017 - one side of their space is a shop which sells sustainable / zero-waste products such as stainless steel straws and soaps sold in bulk. The other side of Plastikourgeio's space is a lab dedicated to recycling plastic. Plastic that they collect from their neighbourhood, or plastic that customers bring into the lab, is shredded and made into new objects. Daphne says, "Our mission is to show how plastic CAN be recycled but to also stress the point that although the recycling process can be very creative, it requires a lot effort so our over arching goal as a society should be to reduce the use and production of plastic. Recycling is our last best option."
Daphne and Fran have also started a campaign directed at Athenian bars and restaurants against single-use plastic called Plastic Free Drinks: www.plasticfreedrinks.plastikourgeio.com.
Go and visit Plastigourgeio on Asklipiou 51, 10680 Athens, +30 2130 443356. Their website is plastikourgeio.com and you can follow them on Instagram @plastikourgeio. Collect your plastic trash and go transform it into something beautiful and useful!
Or if you are not based in Athens, consider setting up your own Precious Plastic Lab where you are!