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Reuse is one of the objectives of the 3R concept: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse, which recently has been bandied about in support of sustainability. Besides being widely recycled - as recent research by the Instituto do PVC indicates - PVC is also being reused, after being discarded. Associations have found a creative way of reusing promotional material employed in the visual communications field.
The New Union of Art Association (NUA), based in São Paulo, for example, has a project involving young people making handbags from PVC banners supplied as donations from visual communications enterprises. In São Paulo, banners from the 2007 International Movie Festival, the Nove de Julho University (Uninove) and the Bank Workers' Union were donated and turned into modern and stylish handbags.
Actions like the PVC handbags project, awarded at the 1st Brazilian Design Object Awards in 2008, contribute to the community and encourage a higher standard of work from the designer. "The handbags are completely homemade and the advantage of PVC is that it is a very strong, beautiful, sophisticated, modern and totally exclusive material – you never get two identical handbags", says Antônio Hermes de Sousa, general coordinator and founder of NUA. The entity works in support of culture and generation of income, which is passed on to the youths that make the PVC handbags, helping them find their place in society and aiding in the development of their personal and professional activities.
Another example is in the work of the Paraná/Santa Catarina Chapter of the Promotional Marketing Association (AMPRO), which also produces handbags made of PVC recycled from banners, panels, billboards and other second-hand products. "What was previously thrown into landfills, where it takes a very long time to decompose, is now being turned into handbags. The project, called PromoSustainable, involves awareness, creativity and attitude", says Aparecida Nogarolli, President of the Paraná/Santa Catarina Chapter of AMPRO. "The idea arose from the desire to find a way of reusing waste products and start an activity involving sustainability within the entity. PVC proved ideal for this type of reuse because of its durability", says Nogarolli.
Donations of material are made by member enterprises or volunteers and the Coopermandi Cooperative, in the state of Paraná, is responsible for the production. At least one banner is necessary to make one handbag.
The executive director of the Instituto do PVC, Miguel Bahiense Neto states that there are three basic requirements for a business to be sustainable: to be ecologically correct, economically feasible and socially fair, and we can even add a forth one: to be culturally accepted. The PVC handbags made from banners fulfill these demands. And better still, the material can be recycled again at the end of its useful life as a handbag", he adds.