Tag Archive: recycling


Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Given the circumstances, I’m sure we’ve all been better, what with our recent suicide bombings in Dahr al-Baydar and Tayouneh. That’s where our attention is, and for understandable reasons. However, I will leave the online analysis of this to others for the time being. I would like to report on a positive civil society initiative that has been around for sometime, but that we have not been taking advantage of: supermarket recycling.

If any of you shop at Spinney’s, then I’m sure you have seen two rather large machines. Should you bring your plastic bottles or aluminum cans and feed them into the machine, you will get points that add into store credit. Once you get enough points, you get free water. This initiative has been around for sometime, but few people take advantage of it.

Such civil society initiatives are taking place worldwide. Indeed, in Taiwan, some stores allow trading recyclable items for purchases (ex: a dead laptop which could be recycled for grocery items). We should be proud that Lebanon has joined this trend!

When discussing this with others, I am often told that it would be embarrassing to bring such items into a supermarket. I cannot help but wonder if a polluted environment and increasing rates of cancer are more dignified. That is not an excuse.

Another one of the reasons we claim not to recycle is because there are no nearby stations. Yet, we clearly have an option–dropping it off at the supermarket. Let us take advantage of this.  Let us try to mend our environment and dispose of our waste appropriately. This is an easy option which requires no additional effort–we all go to the supermarket, don’t we? Let’s do it, Lebanon!

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. I am writing about what is turning into a huge problem; that of electronic waste.

 70% of toxic waste comes from electronic sources, such as computer, televisions, and phones. The high amount of lead in electronics alone causes damage in the central and peripheral nervous systems, the blood and the kidneys. They also cause different types of cancers. Other materials include sulphur, beryllium oxide, and cadmium. These are toxic at a sufficiently high level of exposure.

 Worldwide, only 15% of all computer owners recycle their computers, which means the other 85% end up thrown away. About 50 millions cell phones are replaced worldwide a month, and only 10% are recycled. If we recycled just a million cell phones, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking 1,368 cars off the road for a year!

Sadly, what happens is that electronic waste is thrown into landfills. In the U.S., electronic waste is sent to China, India, and Kenya, where environmental standards are lower and the waste is buried in landfills. However, the lead pollutes the soil and the water, leading to health problems. As for Lebanon; the same fate awaits us in terms of how we deal with our waste.

Electronic items that are considered to be hazardous include, but are not limited to:

  1. Televisions and computer monitors that contain cathode ray tubes
  2. LCD desktop monitors
  3. Laptop computers with LCD displays
  4. LCD televisions
  5. Plasma televisions
  6. Portable DVD players with LCD screens.
  7. Cellular phones
  8. Stereos
  9. Copiers
  10. Fax Machines
  11. Ipads
  12. Ipods
  13. Kindles

So what do we do about electronic waste? How do we reduce it? The answer to this is surprisingly simple. When you want to get rid of your phone or laptop, return it back to the company you bought it from. The company will typically use your electronic device for spare parts, and use what is good. What is not will be recycled for precious metals. For example, Hewlett-Packard strips the parts that are not good for reuse and sorts the available copper, gold, palladium, silver, and tin; these are sold for recycling. Companies such as these also treat the battery and are able to recycle it.

Lebanon, this is especially easy for us, as there is an awesome new e-cycling initiative in Lebanon. Called Beeatoona, this organization collects and treats electronic waste. What they do is collect electronic waste and e-cycle it. It’s wonderfully simple, and easy for us. The contact information is below, but if you want to check out the website, please follow this link:  http://www.ecycle-me.org/component/main/index.asp To find a list of e-cycling locations and collection points near you, please follow this link: http://www.ecycle-me.org/Content/Downloads/Pdf/Technical-lebanon.pdf

Lebanon, let us support Beeatoona and ourselves in this initiative.The health effects of electronic waste on our environment and ourselves will be mitigated if all try. Let’s fight for our country and our health. We can do it, Lebanon!

For further information about Beeatoona, please contact:

Christine Thomassian
Project Coordinator
Beeatoona Organization
Beirut – Lebanon
T + 961 1 249 653
M + 961 3 256 917
F + 961 1 249 653
E christine.thomassian@beeatoona.org
W http://www.beeatoona.org

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Have you ever walked by a parking garage, saw the litter beside it, and wondered how long it would stay there? Or walked on the street and saw the abundance of garbage beside an existing can, and wondered how long it would take to go away? Have you ever looked into our beautiful sea, saw garbage floating on the surface, and wondered how long it would stick around?

As it turns out, garbage lasts a frightfully long time. These are some of the most common items we use. Not only are they found in our garbage cans, but they are found in our sea, on our sand, on our mountains, on our streets, and more. Here is the list:   

Glass Bottles………………….1  million years (yes, a million!)

Plastic Beverage Bottles…… 450 years

Disposable Diapers………… 450 years

Aluminum Cans………………… 80-200 years

Foamed Plastic Buoys……… 80 years

Foamed Plastic Cups……… 50 years

Rubber items…………… 50-80 years

Tin Cans……………………. 50 years

Leather…………………………… 50 years

Nylon Fabric…………………… 30-40 years

Plastic Film Container…….. 20-30 years

Plastic Bag…………………….. 10-20 years

Cigarette Butt…………………. 1-5 years

Wool Sock………………………. 1-5 years

Plywood…………………….. 1-3 years

Waxed Milk Carton………… 3 months

Apple Core…………………. 2 months

Newspaper………………….. 6 weeks

Orange or Banana Peel…… 2-5 weeks

Paper Towel……………….. 2-4 weeks

Scary, isn’t it? These items, which could be put to good use by either being reused and/or recycled, could pollute our environment for up to a million years! My fellow Lebanese, our country deserves better than to be subjected to such pollution, and we deserve better than to live in a polluted environment. Do you ever wonder when the landfill in Burj Hammoud will go away? All of the items above (and more!) are in there. There is your answer.

My fellow Lebanese, it is time that we invest in reducing our waste, reusing what we can, and recycling. It is also time that we invest in finding more suitable ways to treat our solid and liquid waste. We can do it, Lebanon. Clearly, landfills are not sustainable. The technology, brain power, and expertise all are there for improved waste management.  All Lebanon needs is…the Lebanese. Our investment and action towards the future good of the nation.

Lebanon, we have the brains and the talent. For those willing to invest in proper waste management systems, you would easily make a fortune. For those willing to invest in beach clean-ups and the like, you would not only be helping the environment, but a service to yourselves, your fellow Lebanese, and your nation. We can do it, Lebanon!