“Less is More!” and “Smash It!” were two of the mottoes of one of the events of the Balkan Youth Festival Project, called Eco Happening.
The main idea of the Eco Happening was to teach the public, and also show them all the best ways to use PET plastic bottles, mainly in recycling them. The PET plastic is a main ingredient of the most of the plastic beverage bottles. It is resilient, transparent, and food-safe material. Having this in mind, the Eco Happening sprang to life in order to give these bottles second lives – making them reusable, decorative, useful.
With the mottoes mentioned above, the BYF volunteers focused their aim on crushing, smashing, cutting, recreating, reusing, and saving the bottles, which people from the town of Sandanski threw out of their households, companies, shops, and cafés. To use as LESS as we can to save MORE was the main goal.
What else was pretty interesting about the Eco Happening was the competition for making the festival’s logo from waste materials. In this way, the event helped the locals get more included into the whole process, thus making them an immediate part of the BYF, too. Their task was to put a lot of effort, energy and creativity in creating the best BYF logo, bring their pieces of art to the ‘Bulgaria Square’ and collect their prize. The grand prize was a tablet, and the names of the ceremony of the festival were announced at the closing ceremony of the festival on September 11th.
The short-term and the long-term volunteers worked as a team, organised in three sub-teams:
- Organising Team
- Creative Team
- Advertising Team
In these three teams, we cooperated with each other all the time, making events, decorating the stages, etc. The Eco Happening event was realised with this good communication; hard work; creative minds put together to come up with interesting, inviting, and useful ways to recycle the plastic bottles; busy hands that made the final products, as well as the integration of the local people in the event.
Some of the ideas that were put in action included:
- Bracelets-making (by cutting the stripes of the plastic bottles and then decorating them using nail polish in different colours)
- Birds-feeding pot/bowl (made by cutting the small part of the plastic bottle close to the bottom of it, filling it with black hulled sunflower seeds, decorating it with water colours, and putting it on a tree for the birds to feed)
- Competition games with plastic bottles (local youth competing in who is going to put more bottles in the cardboard box in the shortest time possible)
- Making pigs from plastic bottles
- Eco-Happening Photo Frame (with hashtags ‘Less is More!’ and ‘Smash It!’ stuck on it)
- Eco-Happening Free Hugs
- Making the Iron Throne from the TV series Game of Thrones (made by Orso Maria Cordini, with the help of other volunteers – Janis, from Latvia, and Filippo, from Italy)
- Contemporary music dancer (brought the spirit of dance to our Eco-Happening)
The event was a success, attracted not just so many youngsters from Sandanski, but also the older population. The message was transmitted in the most creative and effective way possible, and the fruits of it you may see on the images attached in this article.
We left the event with a hope that the future will be marked with more awareness in people about all the possible ways they can use to help our planet breathe cleaner air, walk on the ground free of waste, use renewable energy, and live in a happy, Eco-friendly environment.