So once again, I attended a TEDxBeirut event and, once again, I got to hear about certain upcycling eco-friendly efforts going on in Lebanon including Chreek and the recent developments at Cedar Environmental. Ziad Abi Chaker was one of the live speakers and his presentation showed the audience what he’s been up to since his first TEDx talk in 2011.
MRFs (Material Recovery Facility)
These facilities are like garbage filters in that they extract the usable material from waste thrown away by communities. One issue with these facilities is space. According to Cedar Environmental’s website, “Land is an exceptionally scarce resource in Lebanon, and large terrain cannot be sacrificed as a waste dumping and burning site. A MRF using the Dynamic Composting™ technology takes only 1000 m2 of land to treat 5 to 10 tons of waste DAILY. Outside the Beirut area, a 5 and 10 tons per day waste stream is generated by a community of 10,000 & 20,000 inhabitants respectively.” However, Cedar Environmental has built 7 MRFs in Lebanon; each MRF treats up to 96 tons of waste daily.
Animal waste produced in Lebanon used to be dumped in the sea or burned. The waste is now converted into the first organic fertilizer made in Lebanon making it cheaper than imported alternatives. Before 2005, there were close to 90 certified organic farmers. Now, there’s about 400 thanks to the price of fertilizer dropping by 70% since there’s a local supplier.
The Eco-board, a board made of 3600 compressed plastic bags, is being used for construction of small houses, porta-potties, furniture, and conveyor belts in factories. One eco-board conveyor belt exists in the slaughterhouse of Beirut. The boards can now be painted as well (painting plastic is not the easiest feat) so the not-so-glamorous ingredients aren’t detectable when you see the material. Honestly, I prefer the non-coated boards because the Eco-board has a nice textured pattern.
Colonel Microbrewery in Batroun
Many blogs and newspapers have been reporting the story of the new microbrewery that’s being built near the Batroun coast. This new craft beer will be concocted in an eco-friendly brewery that is made entirely out of recycled materials. Like the Ixsir winery, they will depend largely on natural light. There will be a 370 sq. mt. green roof and the walls are made of Eco-boards that will double as vertical gardens. Herbs including zaatar (thyme) and mint will be grown and, in turn, used at the restaurant there. The Microbrewery will also have a bed & breakfast. The structure, which is made out of 2 million plastic bags, 3000 shipping pallets, and 109 sq. mt. of glass panels, should be done in 3 weeks. I’d love to be part of a grand tour.
Mentioned before on the blog, GGRIL accessories are upcycled glass home accessories and decorative items. The team provides the glass bottles and the designs while the glass blowers take care of the production. All proceeds that come from the sales of these items go back to the artisans that created them. Because glass blowers were almost extinct prior to this initiative, it’s admirable to see that they’re craft is being preserved. As Ziad said, next time you’re invited to a dinner, instead of bringing a bottle of wine, get an GGRIL item that’s made out of used wine bottles. You’ll spend around the same amount, help the environment and be supporting local craftsmen. Cheers to that.