A girl with a green conscience

You design handbags from waste material created from plasticized advertising banners. Where did the idea come from? On the student exchange in Barcelona, we were returning home from a party in the early hours of the morning. I couldn't get a scholarship

You design handbags from waste material created from plasticized advertising banners. Where did the idea come from?

On the student exchange in Barcelona, we were returning home from a party in the early hours of the morning. the scholarship couldn't satisfy my desire for a Freitag bag, which of course I didn't have enough money for, so I found an alternative. As luck would have it, on our way home this early morning, we met a service station that was changing posters. When asked if we could take one, one of the workers answered yes, on the condition that we take it off ourselves. Of course, this task was not too difficult for the architect, who always has an olfa knife with her. I made bags for my friends and myself, which are still carried around with us both at lectures and parties.

Do you still get material for making handbags in a similar "semi-criminal" way or do you have your own suppliers?

It is almost unbelievable how difficult it is to get hold of "quality garbage" in our country. I went to various institutions and tried to convince people that they don't need old posters and that there is no point in storing them, but it is better to reuse them and give them a new purpose. In our country, the cross-road banners are displayed by Javna praženjajava, which keeps the posters at the request of its client even for several years after the event. It took a lot of bureaucracy to officially get the waste banners for further use. I almost gave up when the Ljubljana Architecture Museum responded to my requests; Tanja Vergles, špela šubic and Anja Zorko are particularly deserving of the fact that our cooperation continues today. So my products are sold both at the BIO biennials and in their shop at Karunova 4. I also made contacts with Drama, Cankarjev dom...

What are the trends in the use of waste materials here and abroad?

Abroad, the trend of reusing material in the same form has been present for a long time. It differs from recycling in that the material does not acquire a new structure and properties, but is used in the same form for a secondary purpose. My father once very plastically described my work with a simple but vital statement: Once posters were carried by poles, now people carry them in the form of handbags. Abroad, people are increasingly aware of this, and buying an environmentally friendly product is not a problem for them, despite the higher price.

Which world-renowned brands do you know that produce environmentally friendly products?

Quite a few recycled materials are used in the fashion accessories industry. Let's say Freitag handbags or Vaho works transformers products. Even old sails are given a second purpose in the form of bags at Sea Bags, while Second Wind Sails has started making shower curtains and pillows in addition to bags. At Tastaturschmuck, you can order jewelry made from waste material from the use of computers, or other keyboard jewelry.

Perhaps recycling dominates in what industry?

Glass and paper dominate. It is an interesting fact that we are not lagging behind with recycling in Slovenia. The company Slopak made sure that in 2006 we recycled more than 48 percent of our waste, which is not so bad. We cannot compare with Belgium, where they recycle more than 93 percent of all their garbage, and we meet European recycling guidelines.

Do we have reservations about products made from recycled material?

I do not think so. People are becoming more and more educated about it. The consequences of the pollution of the planet are more than obvious in our everyday life. People are increasingly trying to do something for him. When selling my products, I noticed that most of them are bought by middle-aged women, who find the idea interesting and for whom the financial purchase of this type of product does not mean a large expenditure. The fact remains that when it comes to fashion-related products, the individual's design and taste are still more important than the awareness that they have done something good for the Earth with their purchase.

Has the green trend also covered architecture?

Of course. We know that we have a small market and, as a result, low demand. Symposiums on passive architecture are an indication that in Slovenia we do not yet have enough knowledge, nor suitable resources, nor manpower to be able to talk about the trend. Glenn Murcutt, one of the most prominent architects in this field, whose workshop I attended, was our guest. We never turned on the computer, we drew everything on our hands and looked for inspiration in nature. Interest in building houses that consume little energy from the environment naturally also exists in our country. However, it is a fact that most potential owners of this type of architecture stumble over the financial aspect of construction. At the beginning, the invested capital is greater, but the investment is returned to the user, even more so now, when the world's final fuel reserves are decreasing and energy prices will rise.

Do you recycle yourself?

Of course, but I think she could be even more engaged in this area. We also started separating waste at work. But we must be careful that if we do recycle, we do it correctly, otherwise we do more harm than good. As an example, let me cite the mistakenly thrown away half-full yogurt pot. If it is thrown away during the packaging without emptying it, it will contaminate or noticed an entire container of properly disposed packaging that will no longer be able to be used for recycling.

Do you also relax in the "green"?

I really like running in Tivoli. especially when a more stressful period hits, it's my favorite form of relaxation. Of the "green" culinary vices, I prefer salad. When I have time, I go to the Ljubljana market, where I buy vegetable delicacies according to my current mood and prepare them myself at home. When there is no time, I turn to Romeo or Putanesca.

Info Box

Nina Kozin

"It's almost unbelievable how difficult it is to get hold of quality garbage here."

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