What could be greener than turning trash into useful stuff? Imagine the bags made from old umbrellas, newspapers and plastic bags. Everything is possible.

„It all began with a broken green umbrella that I used to make a bag. I find inspiration in many different materials. If I had to pick a favourite, I'd choose wooden boards that wash up on the seashore," is a start of successful story of Maja Rijavec, who started with Smetumet project around seven years ago. Now she's running a business with Alenka Kreč Bricelj and girls are convinced that waste is not ugly or dirty. Especially if it is properly separated.

Every thing, no matter how dear to us, eventually becomes trash.The woe of trash dumps, a burden on the environment on the coming generations. „To consider trash before things become trash, to think about how to reduce the amount of waste, about how to re-use things, fix them, upgrade them and extend their life – that's the raison d'être of Smetumet.When a thing becomes trash, we step in and remake it into a glamorous product – a feast for the eyes, an aha moment that brings a smile to the face of the person who uses it. An accessory, new functionalities, a provocation, an original gift. A point of view," said the girls.

But this is not all, what they are doing. Girls are also active with their creative workshops. "Our workshops are part of environmental awareness campaign, part global learning and part practical construction of objects out of waste materials. Playfulness, exploration and experiential learning – we believe this to be the ideal way to teach children about waste. We join forces in looking for questions and answers. We take a look at how people from various parts of the world approach the waste problem and how they approached it in the past. At the workshops, we take a hands-on approach to waste, through old handicrafts used in modern ways. We remake the old and seemingly useless into something new and useful. Children create things from trash and explore their possible uses through play. In the meantime, we ask ourselves what would it be like to live in a world where everything circulated, resulting in effectively zero waste."

A bag, notebook, pencil, multi-use carry bag, clothes ... all made from used but still useful materials that still have a point and ways to be used. That is what they do at the Smetumet cultural and ecological society. Their mission is re-think, re-fuse, re-use and re-cycle.

July 11, 2017 Living photo: SmetUmet

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