Lebanon’s got a smorgasbord of hidden talent. Well, maybe not hidden but they certainly don’t get enough attention for the monumental work they’re doing. Lebanon has an issue with managing landfills: we burn trash, bury it, or dump it in our sea. I read once that the country is only able to recycle a maximum of 6% of its collected waste. SIX PERCENT. What is the discrepancy between produced and actually collected?
The below are just a few instances where people are working towards a greener Lebanon which is an initiative we should all start aiming for through more environmentally-friendly plans and sustainable design & development.
1. White Sur White, Cyrille Najjar
Najjar is a designer at White Sur White who spoke at Pecha Kucha last week. One particular product featured in his presentation was a portable solar cell that can be used to replace electric generators. It looks like a Samsonite suitcase with wheels and everything except it offers 5-10 amperes of electricity. The 1+1 project was created by them in order to produce furniture with less waste, short-cutting the way products are made. Najjar said that 40% of a product is pollution between packaging, shipping, and additional wrapping. They bypass this by making their furniture easy to transport and assemble like stacks of flat sheets that interconnect. By doing so, they effectively take preventive measures towards producing unneeded layers of material that will just be thrown away.
2. Waste, Waleed Jad
Waleed, also a speaker at Pecha Kucha, is behind the latest fashion trend going around. Perhaps you’ve read about WASTE on the various sites that are talking about their work: fashion pieces made of trash. Flex material (the heavy-duty plastic that advertisements are printed on to withstand harsh weather), along with car seatbelts & the inner tubings of tires are what WASTE uses to make collections of bags and furniture. Because they’re using such materials, every piece of their collections is 100% unique too – even if they have a double of a certain advertisement. The interior of the Etihad Art Gallery Cafe in Abu Dhabi is full of re-purposed furniture all put together by WASTE’s scavenging efforts. They raided all the swap markets, antique shops, and Basta-like venues to fill it up with recycled “junk.”
3. GGRIL, Ziad Abichaker
Green Glass Recycling Initiative in Lebanon is led by Cedar Environmental’s Ziad Abichaker, the trash king of our nation. He spoke about his love story with garbage at TEDxBeirut 2012 and is setting quite the example when it comes to implementing sustainable waste solutions. Abichaker, who was the brains behind turning nylon bags into sturdy boards by compacting them using intense pressure, is now working to bring back the art of glass blowing (stop giggling) by giving used glass bottles a second life.
4. Artafif, Wissam Muases
Started by Syrian Muases, Artafif is set up in Furn el Chebbak. He’s creating glassware and accessories out of sliced beer bottles. I’ve seen this done on Pinterest and it seems pretty easy: you use rope and acetone to cut the bottles, then sand the sharp edges. Of course, his process is probably more complex & aesthetic, and hopefully more effective when it comes to sanding.
5. Junk Munkez, Lea Kirdikian & Xavier Baghdadi
I found these guys while scanning Waraq’s Facebook page. Waraq, located in Ras el Nabe3 and another group from Pecha Kucha, is a team of 4 artists who created an “artists’ community” that hosts workshops and screenings. One up-cycling workshop was held a few weeks ago with the Junk Munkez, a duo comprised of an animator and a product designer. Their Facebook page states, “We design colorfully fun objects for those who seek a lighter and greener side to life. By using eco conscious ethics in designing eco friendly products, we are trying to spread DIY and RRR principles in our rather upside world. Where consumerism and surplus reign supreme.”
In conclusion, when you can’t recycle, up-cycle.