It is widely known that the environmental sector is suffering from the NIMBY syndrome (Not In My Back Yard) as an ignorant or irrational response which reflects the Nimbies mindset attitudes, values, motives or interests held by individuals within the locality. There is a significant distinction between the real risks or impacts associated with new developments, and the public’s assessment of these risks. Nimbyism (“Not in My Backyard” responses) and environmentalism are distinct concepts, but they are easily confounded in practice.

Environmentalism, as opposed to Nimbyism, is a more general attitude that supports and prioritises the natural environment as important to human life. On the other hand, Nimbyism is a localised opposition to a specific development that is often opposed in the name of environmental protection. In many cases, hazardous waste remains untreated, polluting the earth’s soil and poisoning the earth’s water.

Not-in-my-backyard opposition delays or cancels a wide range of sound hazardous waste management projects causing serious environmental and health impacts. Environmentalism is characterised by attitudes and behaviors that focus on protecting the natural environment from destruction or pollution. Moreover, environmentalism considers how humans interact and use natural resources in everyday life, such as water, air, soil, plants, forests, etc.

By deploying this obvious truth, Polyeco explored and implements an ambitious Contemporary Art Initiative intended to help solve this paradox and ultimately benefiting local communities of the regions where we conduct our business. Contemporary art can provide a lasting reflection of people and of their cultures.

Polyeco’s Contemporary Art Initiative aim is to explore globalisation and sustainability from new viewpoints and open a new path of understanding both of the theory and the practice of hazardous waste management.

As a major player amongst the most prominent waste management companies in SE Europe and beyond, with presence in Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, FYROM, Montenegro, Cyprus ,and projects in Lebanon, Mauritius, Mongolia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Oman and Ethiopia, we in Polyeco S.A. pursue business solutions that maximise value to our stakeholders including our shareholders.

Sustainability is at the heart of our business practice. Our business is always conducted in an inclusive way that clearly and consistently communicates respect and value for our people, stakeholders and the environment. We are committed to delivering sustained growth through empowering people, acting responsibly and building trust and it is part of our culture to reward passion and creativity. This is why we support worthwhile causes and initiatives, such as Polyeco’s Contemporary Art Initiative (PCAI).

The arts are integral to building awareness and support of an organisation’s CSR strategy and to engaging the stakeholders in the widest possible sense. Artists have long been associated with the challenges of responding to the world around them so as to develop work that is inclusive rather than exclusive, to provide an alternative literacy to people and create links between communities that may never otherwise interact. The skills, knowledge and creativity of the arts and artists in this respect are a key tool in enabling businesses to build an effective CSR strategy.

Contemporary art has become a social phenomenon, catalyses cultural exchange, and expands perspectives without saying a word. There is no point in comparing contemporary art to what we used to consider as art, because it is dependent on the effects of globalisation which we are only beginning to discover and whose impact we are still struggling to assess.

The pressing issue of hazardous waste has until now mainly been a technical problem, matched by technical solutions in waste disposal, waste management, and recycling. But waste is a complex phenomenon that can only be fully understood by exploring cultural perceptions and social practices alongside the technical strategies for dealing with waste.

Globalising contemporary art through hazardous waste is a unique and diverse initiative of Polyeco, built around five main pillars:
• Support emerging or established professional artists, from all over the world.
• Creating art-in-residence programmes that fuel creativity and ignites minds, with a meaningful and multi-layered cultural exchange of artists, academicians, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment and obligations to explore his/her practice within another community; meeting new people, be influenced by local culture and the hazardous waste using new materials, experiencing life in a new location with the co-operation of local communities (galleries, cinema center, art academy).
• Artworks produced within our art-in-residence programme should be influenced by local culture and of course by the concept of hazardous waste management.
• Provide treated or untreated material and financial support to artists participating in our programmes.
• After the completion, all artworks of each programme will be first exhibited in Greece and then in the country where they were created.

Central to our Contemporary Art Initiative is the encouragement of an ever-deeper understanding and enjoyment of contemporary art by the diverse local, national, and international audiences that it serves. To achieve our goals we seek to:

• Create a unique Contemporary Art Collection to challenge our perception of the environment issues
• Convert our Contemporary Art Collection into a unique resource to be spread over local and global community-based arts programmes to leading, world-class arts institutions to inspire, educate and contribute to both the economic and creative vitality of their communities
• Attract an enormous number of visitors bringing together diverse communities to foster mutual understanding and respect to the idea for a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren worth living in.

The “PCAI” programme aims at opening a channel of new understanding both of the theory and practice of waste. Visual artists from different genres explore where waste comes from, how it travels, which external factors and ethical taboos influence our understanding of waste, and the normative status of our reactions to discarded and unwanted things. Each œuvre is created in response to the conditions and configuration of a given space and/or place where hazardous waste management projects take place.
Through Polyeco’s Contemporary Art Initiative, we support a handful of selected independent and emerging artists who are innovative, multidisciplinary and whose imaginative works are inspired by the hazardous waste workplace, by countries, workforce and people involved in the hazardous waste management process to stimulate public interest and thought about environmental and globalisation issues.

Polyeco also welcomes visual artists to experiment in any media or mixed media (such as video art installations, paintings, mixed media, photography, digital art, etc.) and contribute their work in a visual extravaganza featuring their widest senses and experiences within the place and context in which hazardous waste management projects are conducted. Every artist interacts with the basic elements of his or her practice differently and may get inspired and source reclaimed materials from our facilities in Aspropyrgos, Greece, to bring their own preconceived hierarchy of cultural values, assumptions or reflections on modern life waste and consequences on the environment.

The PCAI programme will benefit our planet, local communities, artists, governments and all our stakeholders.
We believe that through art we can challenge people’s intellect, alter Nimbyism into Environmentalism and outline our moral obligation to understand that everyone of us must share the burden of our society’s waste at a local and global level.