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GWR Facilitates Recycling Your Trash

We want you to know about a wonderful newly established waste recycling initiative in Lebanon known as Global Waste Recycling (GWR). Unlike your typical waste collectors in Lebanon, GWR comes to your home to pick up your waste to be 100% recycled. Currently, most towns and villages throughout Lebanon have waste pick up services (in agreement with local municipalities) that take all unsorted garbage. It then gets shredded inside the pick up trucks to later be dumped in a landfill (which we all know is a ticking time bomb!). Furthermore, the landfill or incineration (burning the trash) options, that are heavily practiced in Lebanon, are not sustainable and very wrong for a multitude of reasons (but that’s a story for another time).

Rabih Zeineddine, who heads GWR, wants to encourage all households to recycle by offering a convenient pick up service for a small fee (30,000 Lira in Beirut and its peripheries and 50,000 Lira for areas further out, mainly covering Dbayeh, Kaslik, and Jounieh). This minimal fee goes towards supporting his mission and keeping his non profit running: “We are a social mission and we focus on three areas of concern,” he stresses, “We believe in our country and that we can rise again from the current crisis, creating employment for Lebanese and refugees, developing a strategy to combat Lebanon’s waste crisis.”

GWR will currently pick up nylon, plastic, glass, carton and paper waste, in addition to metal (such as empty food and soda cans) waste and large batteries (those used in vehicles).
You can throw all the aforementioned nonorganic waste into a bin together or keep them. separately (whatever works for you) for it to be picked up in their trucks. Just make sure there is no source of food residue in the waste materials. GWR will not accept tissue paper, potato chip bags, tetra packs and CD’s, as they don’t have recycling facilities for them in Lebanon. In addition, GWR does not take any food waste. For food waste pick up they recommend you get in touch with Compost Baladi. You can contact them via email or by calling 03 333 462.

Items That Cannot Be Recycled

(From Left to Right: Cigarette butts, metallised film wrappers, latex gloves, styrofoam, CDs, paper napkins or tissues, food scraps, pill packets, discarded ball point pens)

So once GWR comes and picks up your recyclable waste, it goes to their warehouse in Bir Hassan where it is sorted and each category of waste materials is crushed and flattened into large bales. A special machine is used to add compression force to the waste to create the bales. One bale measures 1 x 1.2 meters and gets wrapped with a secure rope. The bales then get directly sold to the companies in Lebanon that make packaging items (whether water bottles, carton boxes, etc.,) to be used towards making their products.

The Collected Waste Bags in GWR’s Warehouse

In addition to the home and business pick up service, GWR has a second option of ‘buying the trash’. Rabih explains that “We offer to buy the recyclables. However, it has to be a big quantity equaling one tonne or more.” Usually this is done in large neighborhoods where they amass the recyclable trash for GWR to pick up in one go. How much GWR pays depends on the current demand for the raw materials and the exchange rate in Lebanon. Currently, the average amount GWR offers is 3.5 million Lira. The money usually goes towards helping the neighborhood, so it is a win-win situation!.

In addition to picking up trash to be sold for recycling, GWR also picks up e-waste (discarded electronics) and old furniture from time to time, as a charitable service. Once collected, they then take them to be repaired or refurbished and sent to charities to be distributed to those in need.

Rabih’s dream is to build a green economy that will one day create thousands of jobs for Lebanese and Syrians as well. He believes that with the acceleration of globalization, the world will see an ever increasing number of refugees and migrants. “We believe that these newcomers are a vast, unrealized resource whose skills and ingenuity can benefit their host countries if given the opportunities.”

Employees at GWR Sorting the Waste

Currently GWR employs ten people, of which seven are refugees. Rabih’s goal is to also work directly with municipalities in hopes that most of Lebanon’s waste will eventually get sorted and recycled. Currently, households and businesses from all over Beirut serve as his clients. “It’s a good start and so far we collect from over 200 homes and businesses and we recycle between one and three tons per day,” says Rabih. “Eventually we hope to make deals with the municipalities to work with us so they can shift from the current unsustainable waste dumping system to waste recycling.”

Due to the crippling economic crisis Rabih explained that municipalities are currently overwhelmed and not ready to sit with him yet to discuss new ways to implement waste recycling. But he is confident that things will change. “When the crisis is over, I am sure they will be ready to talk and things will change quickly.” In the meantime, GWR is steadily but surely expanding its great mission, one household at a time.

If you want to send your waste to GWR for recycling, just send them a WhatsApp on 71515515 for easy pick up service. They will be glad to serve you and answer any questions you have. You can also check out their newly launched Instagram page to know more about them:

Hope you liked our story on GWR! We hope you too are sorting your waste for recycling purposes. If not, now is a good time to start. Let’s all do our share to keep Lebanon cleaner. Remember, each one of us can make a difference!

References: All the pictures and the information in this story has been provided by GWR.