Our vision is a nation adhering to integrated solid waste management strategies and plans aiming at protecting the environment, human health and resource recovery, following the principles of a circular economy and sustainable consumption. The vision foresees a decrease in the quantity and hazardousness of waste generated, the promotion of reuse and recycling of waste, and the securing of environmentally sound and economically feasible technical solutions for disposal of residual waste.
Waste in Lebanon is made up of the following:
Sustainable waste management solutions have to evaluated against the following criteria:
- Environmental impact: Degree of harm to the environment
- Social impact: Communities’ knowledge and acceptance of the proposed solutions
- Health impact: Degree of potential harm to public health
- Land use: Requirement of land area needed
- Financial feasibility: Financial requirements for investment and potential returns
- Technical complexity: Degree of sophistication of technology relative to available expertise
- Local expertise: Availability of local expertise
- Institutional complexity: Institutional requirements and complexity in the needed administrative and legislative for the suggested solution.
Based on the above criteria, the Waste Management Coalition considers that any sustainable municipal waste management in Lebanon should start with the reduction and then recycling of paper, cardboard, metal, plastic and glass that account for more than 30% of the total waste generated. Organic material that accounts for more than 55% of total municipal waste generated could be treated biologically, by turning it into useful material such as compost or gas for energy.
In total, 85% of the total waste generated would be sustainably treated through recycling and organic waste biological treatment, without resorting to incinerators, especially in the absence of legal and institutional frameworks for monitoring and controlling incineration operations along international standards.
A sustainable solution to the waste problem in Lebanon requires the development of integrated and comprehensive planning following the waste management hierarchy.
Resorting to incineration for municipal waste management in Lebanon is the most harmful option to the environment and people’s health. It is much more expensive, a complicated and hazardous technique, especially when compared to mechanical and anaerobic biological treatment techniques, which rely on sorting and recycling. Lebanon has already implemented these techniques with promising results. In addition, their negative effects on the environment and society remains much more contained.