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    Aprender a crear resiliencia comunitaria a través de la comunicación y la tecnología

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Bucolico Training

Building Community Resilience through Communication & Technology

Convert Art: A young woman manufacturing handmade handbags, jewelleries and other every-day use products from recycled materials



Convert Art is the first upcycling company in Greece, manufacturing handmade handbags, jewelry, accessories and other products for the everyday use, made exclusively from used inner tubes, tires, electrical materials and recycled aluminium.

The company moved its first steps in 2012, when the creator Marina Griponisioti found herself in a car garage. There were many fallen tires there, so she thought to experiment with one of them. She borrowed the garage tools and made her first belt. In the same period, she began to process an old portable speaker, the parts of which turned out as a colourful and fantastic jewel.

This was how it started, by collecting inner tubes, tires and electrical equipment. As for now, Convert Art has 60 different types of products and over 400 different designs.

Convert Art products have been exhibited at various exhibitions and markets, often receiving relevant awards, such as: Papastratos StartUp Awards (2017), Athens Safary Start Up (2017), Athens Fashion Trade Show (2016), Modern Creations (2016), The Fashion Room service (2015).



Upcycling means creative re-use. It is a special recycling process that aims not only to reuse waste, but to treat waste products in new, higher-quality products. Upcycling stands out as a process for its sustainable innovation by using materials in its original form, saving resources and money, thus increasing the quality of the product. The goal of upcycling is to avoid wasting potentially useful materials by using existing ones. This reduces the consumption of new raw materials when creating new products. Reducing the use of new raw materials can lead to a reduction in energy use, air pollution, water pollution, and even greenhouse gases emissions. Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which is the other half of recycling. Downcycling involves the conversion of materials and products into new materials of lower quality while recycling involves the conversion or extraction of useful materials from an original powder product by creating a different product or material from the beginning.

The first recorded use of the term upcycling was by Reiner Pilz in 1994. The concept was later incorporated by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in 2002 in their Cradle-to-Cradle book: Rebuilding the way we do things. McDonough and Braungart were pioneers in upcycling, claiming that we should all try to prolong the life of the products. The tradition of re-use in art grew sporadically in the mid-20th century. An exemplary upcycling example is the Watts Tower (1921-1954) in Los Angeles, which is made of scrap, ceramic and broken glasses on a large scale and consists of 17 different sculptural constructions, the highest being reaches a height of more than 30 meters.

Another recent example is the Orchestra de Instrumentos Reciclados de Cateura in Paraguay, whose musical instruments are made of materials from the landfill site of Cateura. Somehow that's how convert art began, turning old inner tubes into used handbags and accessories, and -more- used electrical material into gorgeous jewelry and decorative items.



All Convert Art creations are handmade and unique pieces. They are manufactured from used raw materials, based on the Upcycling philosophy. They are vegan, ecological and contain no animal derivatives. The inner tubes have 5 processing steps, so they do not smell and do not lose their color. The material is waterproof, due to its non-porous surface, very resistant to extreme weather conditions and easy to clean. The business collects the used inner tubes and bicycle tires from partner companies or bicycle shops. The employees and designers clean, process and organize the inner tubes and tires in their workshop, and later on they begin designing the products. After the production process begins, they add the zippers, buckles, and the latest touches. Lastly the products go through quality control and are placed on the shelves for distribution. The electrical equipment is collected from old televisions, computers and other electrical appliances, whilst the other material is recyclable aluminum. Convert Art products have 5 processing steps to keep them from smelling and discolor. They are manufactured to be durable without needing special care. They are waterproof and their non-porous surface helps clean them easily. You can clean your bag with a cloth and some warm water and soap, or wash it in the dishwasher up to 40oC, using a mild detergent. Do not put your bag in the dryer.

In very hot conditions (such as a locked car sitting in the sun for over 20 hours), you may see a gray-white surface developing over your bag. The gray color that you might see comes from the wax in the rubber composition. The wax is not harmful and your bag will return to its natural color as soon as it is away from its long exposure to high temperatures.



Due to the niche core business and its relevance in the field of sustainability, Convert Art grew significantly year after year: In December 2013, the collection of jewelry made of electrical materials and handmade inner tube bags won an award at the Greek Design = Good Design contest, while in 2016 the Convert Art collection of polymorphic bags was awarded with the Top Design Award for 2016. In December of the same year, Convert Art was selected to participate in the European Final of the StartUp Europe Awards in Brussels. In December of 2014, Convert Art created a workshop on processing, design and construction. There was also a Convert Art Lab store, where apart from Convert Art products; the company also hosts a large collection of handmade jewelry and accessories from Greeks designers. In January 2017 the production unit was moved to Athens and Convert Art opened the official store in 24-26 Pallados str, at Psirri Square in the center of Athens.

Up to now, Convert Art has over 35 points of sale in Greece, Cyprus and abroad.

Within the first five years, it has reused more than 20 tons of inner tubes, giving them life again, while protecting the environment from the pollution.

Bucolico Consortium

Aprender a crear resiliencia comunitaria a través de la comunicación y la tecnología


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