Our story begins in 1998 in the beautiful mining mountains in Nova Lima, a city close to Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Águida Zanol, the founder of T3, partnered with the local municipality to formalize Brazil’s first school of recycling, School House Aristides, which hosted the Reciclar-T3 Project.
School House Aristides’ main activity was researching reusable materials, starting with various packaging waste such as plastic, glass, metal, paper, and other materials [fabrics, street signs, rubber.] Many products were developed at the school and were a source of inspiration for many people who are passionate like us, about the transformation of waste into raw material of creation! As a result, many products from recycled materials emerged such as: furniture, home accessories, utility objects, clothing accessories, and theatre sets. With so many possibilities, the word “impossible” has not been a part of our vocabulary since then.
Everything had to be possible. There were so many challenges, but they were not discouraging! Positive results and the transformation of waste into repurposed products instigated changes (in ways of thinking, habits and attitudes), in the relationship chains between humans and nature.
The main purpose of the school project had been to motivate people to rethink their ways of living, consuming and generating waste. It would be lovely to see the harmonious union between humans, nature, science, technology and culture. And in this desire we are sure that we are not alone!
To our surprise, School House Aristides had a much greater demand than we expected and it happened so fast, that there were not enough time and resources to accommodate. In addition, due to limiting 3rd sector laws at the time, the school project was unable to sustain as intended. As a result, Águida Zanol continued the Reciclar-T3 project in isolated projects with 1st, 2nd and 3rd sectors by offering: courses, workshops, lectures, exhibitions, fairs, educational parades and settings.
The mountains of Minas Gerais hugged us tight, but did not limit us. Our desire to expand and show what could be done with the garbage, took us away and we ended up in European lands. We were well received and achieved international recognition when the German government invited us to participate and receive awards at EXPO 2000, in the Pavilion of International Projects [Hannover]. A great honor for us:
This invitation yielded and paid off, many doors opened and much work by T3 has been conducted in the Netherlands [with the Dutch Government through Coby Hoogkamp], Spain, England, Germany and even in Africa. A unit called the Wandel Werte, was created in partnership with the German Government through the Local Agenda 21 (Silvia Hesse) and the company Mensch und Region (Birgit Böhm). In 2002, we also received the award for “Best Practices for a Sustainable World”, from the Club of Budapest from Frankfurt, Germany. We were beyond honored and overjoyed.
Our story is huge – we would need coffee, corn bread and cheese rolls on the edge of the wood stove to tell of all the important and dear people who believed in and took part in the project, all the adventures that we have been through and what we still intend to be in the future!
Thanks for reading our story that does not end here! It continues with the participation of people who, like you and us, believe that a better, greener and more humane world is possible!