Eugenijus Barzdžius

2018 - Ongoing

Vilnius, Vilnius County, Lithuania

The documentary photography project about probably the biggest in EU plastic recycling factory which is based in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Founded in 1961 Plasta was one of the biggest plastic products manufacturer in former the Soviet Union for a few decades. And now the factory is one of the largest polyethylene recycler and plastic products producer in Europe employing more than 500 people. Plasta production plant is situated on a 12-hectare site with 80000 sq. meters of production space.

The company also provides services of manufacturing of mechanical parts or equipment and restoration of mechanical parts for the plastics recycling industry.

With the project, it is intended to explore and to analyze visually recycling processes and people that are behind all of them, where some of them have been in the factory the bigger part of their lives. Quite a big part of employees are from Slavic background: Russians, Belorussians, Poles, Ukrainians (part of them are new work migrants in recent years). Part of people from Slavic ethnicities is not really integrated into independent Lithuania by learning properly to speak Lithuanian what challenges them in the labor market. The whole environment of the factory has very strong reminiscences of Soviet-era with remains of various machinery, parts of interior and peoples’ mindset. And at the same time, the factory is slowly changing, optimizing the production with new machinery and at the same time serving the global need for plastic recycling. More than 30 thousand tons of post-consumer plastic waste is recycled every year, where the bigger part of it is being imported from other EU countries. Volumes are constantly increasing due to the continuous growth of the company and the demands of recycled plastic. Plasta’s flagship product is waste bags. Half a billion bags are delivered to retail shops every year. Pipes, film, hermetic containers, buckets, barrels, plastic sheets make an additional balance of items produced.

I still think that the project is not finished yet and I am continuing to work on it. I believe that a wider visual analysis of employees is needed, as well as continuing my observation on constant changes in the factory.

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