Curator of Cultural Projects, Interra Association
Krasnoyarsk has had no comprehensive recycling system for its 1 million residents, and the Siberian city faces growing environmental problems resulting from poor waste disposal. Glass, paper, plastic, and even batteries are thrown into landfills or burned, and many residents don’t realize that trash contains materials that can be reused.
Team Krasnoyarsk developed the Recycle Art Festival as a way to educate the public about waste reduction, reuse and recycling through recycled art.
Event-based formats are a good starting point to bring people in touch with a topic. Hands-on activities engage people more deeply and create a lasting memory.
Hosted in the vast green spaces of the Station of Young Naturalists, the Recycle Arts Festival showcased how quality items can be made from “up-cycled” materials. Locals were asked to donated their garbage to the festival artists – which received items ranging from plastic bottles to old PC monitors to trolleybus tires — and transformed them into useful and attractive objects — sculptures made from building materials, wallets out of plastic, chess sets made from recycled tin. Visitors were invited to try their own hand at making art out of reused materials.
Panels and presentations offered information on conscientious shopping and recycling resources. Team Krasnoyarsk handed out maps of the city’s recycling locations and gathered residents’ input about how a comprehensive recycling program could meet their needs.
Through arts and culture, citizens could experience the sustainable and creative use of recycled materials firsthand.
Altogether, about 2,500 people attended the first edition of the Recycle Art Festival, and thousands more joined in on social networks. Elements of the event are being replicated at other public events in Krasnoyarsk and nearby cities. Demonstration projects created for the festival including up-cycled outdoor furniture, planting spaces and shipping container lending library remain in use and have inspired Team Krasnoyarsk to work towards creating a space useable year-round for teaching about recycling and creative and ecological urban space improvement.