Metro Vancouver artist turns trash into treasure using plastic to create stunning works of art – BC
Over the past year, Roger Brenninkmeyer has turned people’s garbage into someone else’s treasure.
The Metro Vancouver artist is the founder and creative director of Plastic Essence Collaborative (PECO), a Burnaby-based art company that turns plastic bags and overwraps into stunning three-dimensional works of art.
“We can actually make a new product out of something that goes straight in the trash,” he said in an interview.
“The idea behind PECO is that we take plastic, take a piece of what is waste for most of us and breathe new life into it. “
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It’s an environmentally conscious career that has been brewing for many years, said Brenninkmeyer, who started his high school’s first recycling club in the late 1980s.
Brenninkmeyer has spent two decades working in the branding industry, printing reports and brochures for corporate communications – a career that has led him to reflect on the damage to forests and recycled materials. .
“I spent my time really damaging the Earth and kind of had a Jerry Maguire moment,” he explained. “I said, I’m actually part of the problem here, not the solution.”
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He launched PECO as a way to use his skills for a sustainable, focused mission to reduce waste and create magnificent art that is greater than the sum of its parts.
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The company recovers the plastics, melts them and presses them so they can be used to create a finished part.
“Building a little treasure house out of a lot of junk, I think, is a great metaphor for that, because I really would love this small business to be a role model for anyone in North America, or the world of. somewhere else.”
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To date, the entrepreneur estimates that he has saved around 150,000 plastic bags from the landfill.
His largest creation was an art installation at the Wisteria Place retirement home in Richmond, British Columbia, which required approximately 18,000 bags, some of which were provided by residents.
“They come down to have their breakfast every morning and look up and see a beautiful wisteria tree, knowing that their trash is actually part of that beautiful mosaic,” he said.
Now, in partnership with Ocean Legacy, he said PECO is working on a new technique to turn larger ocean plastics, like fishing nets and crab baskets, into art. He hopes to inspire others, he added, to consider using recycled materials.
“Maybe they don’t create art, but maybe they create plates or stools. As long as we take something that is considered landfill and turn it into something beautiful, it’s useful, ”he said.
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