Today is dedicated to spending time with local companies committed to social cohesion and sustainability. I was interested in Greca, an art collective that designs objects from discarded materials, because of my start-up work in sustainable design. My previous company tried conceptually similar programs and I wondered how the concepts translated here. So, along with about 15 “Young Leaders” I hopped on a bus for the 30 minute drive to Greca.
Greca began as a hobby and turned into a full-fledged production two years ago. A couple of the members noticed how much waste was produced from a nearby button factory: large sacks of discarded buttons, left-over resin and the remaining stamped plastic sheets. Their first designs were simple necklaces made from the buttons and strings, but over time they began using the resin and creating sculptures filled with the buttons. This became a product line that is now being sold to design shops and museums overseas, including the SFMOMA. Between the five members and occasional volunteers, they produce an average of 300 pieces per month.
Greca have created a collaborative workspace with the same creative ethos, using discarded materials to define spaces. They have a practical outlook, hoping to make the public aware of sustainable living through their work. They share their vision with students as well as participate in community gatherings like Green Drinks and Pecha Kucha. Additionally, they have an affiliated free, bimonthly magazine called EcoMania with a total print and online readership of around 25,000 people.
Their humble, creative energy was inspiring— a reminder that there are simple ways to engage in responsible consumption, many times in our own back yard, with our natural talent.