Recycling, Reusing, and Refusing In Lebanon To Save Mother Earth
Plastic waste is growing every day and it often appears impossible to stop. Yet it is possible to make choices that either contribute to the solution of less waste, or add to the existing problem. Our focus and attention will be solely on recycling, reusing and refusing specifically in Lebanon. Each country has its own issues that are particular to the political and economic landscape, as well as the infrastructure. We thought it would be useful and practical to put together some ways in which you can become a solid player in the ever-growing solution while also learning a-thing-or-two about plastic.
The best way to begin the process is by looking at how you live your life on a daily basis. As Gandhi wisely said, “if you want to change the world, be that change.” It’s all about engaging in the process and relearning how to do things you may have been doing in the same manner for years. Focus on yourself rather than others. Take one step at a time. Small incremental steps will give you the time to change, shift, and relearn how to do things inversely.
The first question to ask yourself is do you genuinely care about mother earth? Do you feel connected to the very source that gives you your food, water, air, and all the other things in your life that are made and come from her: cars, clothes, furniture, phones, computers, etc.? This reveals your level of connection to the very source that sustains you.
When we think of plastic, we often do not realize that every single piece ever made still exists somewhere. When it comes to plastic, there is no going ‘somewhere else’ but rather a ‘staying forever’ situation that can be transformed through specific advanced technology and innovation, as it’s truly indestructible. There are estimations that plastic kills over 100,000 marine animals and 1 million birds a year. The issue is further magnified when plastic rubbish breaks down into small toxic particles that pollute our water supply and food chain. IT’S EVERYWHERE! What we can specifically do is stop using single-use plastic, and become ethical consumers who care about this gargantuan problem.
Here are a few ways that you can use less plastic consciously and with a bit of effort.
Recycling In Your Home
Recycling in Lebanon can be challenging at times, it actually depends on what your municipality is doing; some recycle and others don’t. It has been said that Lebanon is only recycling 6% of its collected waste. It’s truly fascinating to observe what your waste piles up to and looks like in one week. You will rapidly realize that most of your “trash” is actually recyclable. Apparently, there are over 100 companies and NGOs ready and willing to help us recycle, which you can find out about here. Lebtivity has beautifully compiled a recycling directory listing all the recycling hubs around town, which you can find here. It also includes a list of up-cycling shops and initiatives of which we’ve mentioned a few in our article here and here. Recycle Beirut, as well as the app Live, Love, Recycle, extend their helping hand also, and are pleased to pick up your recycling; all you have to do is just connect with them.
Also, if you can separate all your plastic bottle caps, you can either drop them off at any arcenciel location, or directly arrange for them to pick up the caps once you’ve collected a sufficient amount. arecenciel is a marvelous non-profit, NGO organization that works for the people to find sustainable solutions at various levels.
If you have not started recycling at home, you are still very far from participating in the magical movement of waste management and doing your part in taking care of dear, mother earth.
Refuse single-use plastic
Once you’ve got your recycling process established and rolling, you’ll genuinely feel like you’re participating and contributing to the country’s and planet’s solution. You’ll also become aware of how much less effort you need to stop the use of single-plastic, and how much more visible and noticeable it becomes to your sense of duty, responsibility and aesthetics.
Bring Your Own Shopping Bag
Plastic bags are everywhere! They can outlive us by hundreds of years (some 500 years). Most plastic bags in supermarkets, restaurants and stores DO NOT use biodegradable bags. If you find a store using them, please thank them for their efforts, they are an exception to the rule!
Bring your own reusable bags to the store. If you already have some plastic bags at home, leave a few in the car. Ask the grocery store staff to simply put the stickers on the item, or only on one bag.
Waste Lb is one manufacturer of reusable bags among many others. It will require effort, courage, and willpower, as you will become an educator in the store. Patience, perseverance, determination, love for the earth and gentleness pays off and go a long way. Guiding the staff respectfully and kindly will help inform them gracefully.
According to Waste Lb, Lebanon uses over 6 million plastic bags annually. Yikes! You can become an ethical consumer and teach others that the world’s environmental woes are truly our problems to deal with.
Say No To: Straws, Disposable Plastic Cutlery, Plates & Cups, Water Bottles And Coffee Containers
You might have heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or the 8 million tons of plastic flowing every year into the oceans worldwide, and half of it is estimated to come from fast food alone. Bottom line, we need to choose more sustainable alternatives to disposable plastic now! Say NO to straws and join “The Last Plastic Straw” global-grassroots-campaign, which Roadster is implementing here in Lebanon. Avoid take-outs when you can, and recycle containers if you are going to do so. Bring your own water bottle, cutlery, coffee mug and reusable bags WHEREVER you go. #BeTheChange and always ask yourself, “am I a part of the problem or the solution?”
Watch this short video about the Great Pacific Plastic Patch:
Water In Your Home and Outside
If you’ve been following us for a while, you’re definitely aware of the extensive articles revolving around the subject of water that we have passionately written over the past few months. What type of drinking water supply do you use in your home? We have thoroughly discussed the downside of using plastic bottles here, with reference to all the toxic particles that can be found in them. If you don’t use a water dispenser and purchase various sizes of plastic bottled water, you’re definitely leaving a huge plastic footprint. The use of a water dispenser aids slightly in reducing the use of plastic bottled water, but are still a serious cause of plastic pollution. The only other water dispenser option to use is glass, which Talaya produces and distributes in Lebanon. Here’s the info you need.
If you are hosting guests in your house, don’t offer them plastic bottled water if you have a dispenser. Instead of taking plastic bottles for your road trip or beach outing, take your reusable bottle container. And the best option of all is the Kangen water device, which we have discussed here and in another article, The Benefits of Kangen Water Go A Long Way. This is hydrogen-rich water that maintains the body’s alkaline state, helps you detox, strengthens and revitalizes your body back into vibrant health. It also ends the purchase of infinite plastic waste and all the health, environmental and polluting hazards that go along with it. Here’s the link to more info.
Buy eco-friendly products that are starting to flourish in Lebanon. Here’s the article that will lead you down the path to eco-shopping, as well as ethical fashion shopping here. There are many initiatives in Lebanon and supporting the change is the surest way to go. Buying homemade products with the least amount of packaging is vital to this process.
If you’ve ever composted before, it’s one of the most delightful ways of watching mother earth transform raw organic materials into high-quality compost. If you want to take it one step further, you can purchase compost bins from Compost Baladi, or other places and online too. Once you start, it’s impossible to stop.
That’s all for now. We hope this inspires and motivates you to participate in waste management by engaging in waste-reducing habits. Have fun, be inventive, creative and embrace your new life with less plastic while helping Gaia!
We thought we’d share a video on Ziad Abi Chaker, the CEO and founder of Cedar Environmental Initiative. An inspiring hero who fought against all the odds and accomplished a great deal in creating local environmental technologies to deal with the solid waste problems in Lebanon.