As the video above states, a new initiative is finally allowing everyone to recycle in Lebanon. Beginning tomorrow, you can sort all plastics and metals in blue bags and put all paper and perishables in black bags.
Trucks will start picking up the blue bags tomorrow. The black bags will go to the landfill, where the paper and the waste can biodegrade.
The hope is that this streamlined initiative– which is being spearheaded by Lebanese recycling guru Ziad Abi Chaker– will take on a life of its own, by encouraging dumpster divers (the poor folks that dig through our garbage every night) to also participate. By sorting your own garbage in this simple way, you can encourage them and help them become more efficient and productive.
Blue bags (or bags of any color other than black) = all types of metal and plastics (bottles, cans, plastic bags, plastic containers)
Black bags = all types of paper (cardboard, newspaper) and all other perishable waste (food).
I have been taking my recycling to Ziad for the past several months, sorting them into plastics, bottles and paper:
But now he has simplified the process to just two types of recycling to encourage mass participation by making use of existing garbage scavenger networks– meaning you won’t have to physically transport the waste yourself.
This is also an emergency reaction to Lebanon’s current garbage crisis, with a shortage of landfills and much feuding in parliament, which has issued one temporary solution after another. Ideally, Ziad says one day we’ll get to a stage where mass sorting of paper will be an option. But in the current crisis, with waste piling up on streets, combining paper and perishables will help reduce smells.
Will it work? This probably depends on you. The more the idea catches on, the more it is likely to succeed.
For more on Ziad’s work; see these previous posts I have done on his glass recycling initiative to support Lebanon’s dying glass blowing industry and his recycling production plants, where plastic bags are processed to create eco-friendly construction materials, fertilizer and the region’s first recycled beer brewery.