Dozens of tons of waste collected from the bottom of the Greek seas are transformed into Christmas decorations and travel to more than 80 countries to illuminate and decorate them.
The pioneering idea implemented over the last three years belongs to a Thessaloniki native who uses recycled Christmas decorations made from nets and bottles from the sea bottom.
The machines at the lighting manufacturing factory in western Thessaloniki are running at full capacity. The orders have been pouring in, as most deliveries have left for destinations around the world long ago. The lights and decorations of the ‘King of Christmas,’ Giannis Palaiokhorinos, will illuminate more than eighty countries this year. However, no one can imagine that the colorful decorations, lanterns, stars, and glittering Santas have been made from materials taken from the sea bottom.
‘It is a process that we became aware of a few years ago, and we were looking for the most suitable materials not to pollute the environment and to contribute as much as we can to a green planet,’ said Giannis Palaiokhorinos, speaking to the radio station of the Athenian/Macedonian News Agency ‘Agency 104.9 FM,’ explaining how the waste from the sea bottom is transformed into decorations.
‘We have embarked on a very innovative process. We take the first material from the collection of plastic bottles and nets from the sea. We take it to our machines, and there (with recycled material), we make stars, bells, and all kinds of designs that you see in the decoration hanging on the streets. A decoration that comes from discarded materials that have ended up on the seabed,’ he says.
Moreover, as he notes, ‘when this external decoration wears out after years or the owners get bored and want to change their home decoration, then the company takes back the already recycled bottle decorations and sends them back for recycling. ‘We take back the raw material and create again, new decorations in new designs. This big cycle is the secret,’ said Mr. Palaiokhorinos.
‘The recycling idea started three years ago, and this year we have reached the point of using over a hundred and fifty tons of waste. If we relate them to material within the seabed, it is a huge number. So, our effort has paid off…’
Indeed, in Northern Europe – as he says – people are so sensitive to recycling that even in lighting and decoration tender competitions, it is a prerequisite to use recyclable materials.
From the Luna Park at the top of the Christmas decoration
Giannis Palaiokhorinos began his contact with lights and colors from the Luna Park that his father had and operated, and since he was a child, he often worked there for his pocket money. Through this, he first came into contact with the glitter of decoration. Still a teenager, he constructed the first series of lights that impressed the owner of a lighting store. The lights brought the star, then the tree, and the widely circulating light tube in the market, another creation of his.
‘As a student at the Polytechnic School in the Department of Electrical Engineers, I started my career from a humble basement 2.20×2.40 m. on Kassandra Street. I was always taken and enchanted by lighting. Both the technical and the more artistic aspect of it. During the time I was studying, I was also studying lights. It was always a great love, and I gave all my being and all my disposition to fill people’s lives with light and color,’ notes Mr. Palaiokhorinos. Today, he maintains four factories and lights up Christmas and other festivals and events in many countries.
Americans will light the most Christmas lanterns this year
Major European municipalities, giant shopping centers worldwide, advertising companies, and hotel chains trust the Thessaloniki native who… sold out of decorations this year, putting his lights from Kazakhstan and Bahrain to California, Beverly Hills, Houston, and Texas, and from Sydney to Gibraltar, and even Hithrow, dressed up this year with recycled lighting from Thessaloniki.
‘The best customers were until two years ago Germany and England. But this year, the champion in lights is America. After all, it has a huge market, and besides, people excessively love Christmas and the… heavy decoration,’ says the ‘king of decoration’ with recycled materials, who immediately after the holidays will start the engines for the next year.
Θεσσαλονίκη: Τα σκουπίδια του βυθού μεταμορφώνονται σε Χριστουγεννιάτικα στολίδια – CNN.gr