The GMI project organized a four days workshop under the slogan “I AM NOT A PLASTIC TREE” as part of its awareness raising plan amongst the children focusing on recycling and upcycling activities through drawings, Christmas decoration, and the usage of the Reverse Vending Machine (RVM). The event was held from Sunday December 21st until December 24th at the Beirut Souks in downtown Beirut (Lebanon) where a lot of families shop during the holiday’s season. The RVM was introduced at the event escorted with the concept of reward, whereby a voucher card with points was given in return of each disposable plastic or can unit inserted into the machine and those units were redeemed for a diverse set of gifts depending on the number of units introduced into the machine.
More than two thousand kids participated to the event and had the chance to experience artistic workshops while being exposed to the importance of upcycling creatively & recycling innovatively at the same time using the RVM. The event was implemented by G Events a Green living consulting non-governmental organization (NGO) committed primarily to provide effective solutions for organizations in order to promote a healthier environment, a cleaner earth, and a more sustainable future.
Prior to the event, the GMI project collected around 1.500 plastic bottles and 800 cans from different schools in Lebanon, all of which were used during the up cycling activities to create decorations and of course to teach the youth how to reduce the amount of waste.
Guided by a professional artist and junior artists, the kids experienced interactive learning art workshops by using upcycled material in order to create nice Christmas handmade presents and souvenirs. The participants had the possibility to choose among drawing & painting on recycled carton while decorating it with up cycled material, decorating a real mini Christmas tree with up-cycled material or competing in collecting plastic bottles and cans and putting them in the RVM to score points as much as possible and redeem them with gifts.
A small up cycling exhibition was also put in place for the visitors to see what the work of artists assisting the kids and the end product of some of the best performing kids.
The kids were so happy to participate to this event since there were a lot of handmade activities, and the parents were delighted to see their kids engaging in such activities. The RVM was one of the main players of the event, the kids were introduced to it and learned how to use it and collect points and redeem those points with gifts. The participants (kids, young and parents) were amazed with the RVM and the corresponding redemption scheme, especially when some of them learned that they had their schools on the list of the schools where the RVMs will be deployed. Some kids have also requested to have an RVM placed at their school, as they wanted to be involved in the project in order to enter the international competition that will take place between the different countries involved in the project. Most importantly, the RVM users have learned that recycling can be fun and for each good deed, something good is given back in return!
The scope of work of the GMI project was admired by the parents along with the mission and vision of the GMI project towards the community and the environment. The GMI project stresses on the fact that we are in an urgent need to educate our children at a young age about waste treatment, recycling and the conservation of the environment.
The community we live in is affected by the decisions we take and actions we make. The GMI project along with the ENPI CBC MED program and European Union are devoted to assisting and helping people learn more about sustainability and recycling and engaging in such actions.
“I AM NOT A PLASTIC TREE” event has left a positive and beneficial mark in the minds of the kids, in return the kids will carry these experiences to their households and schools which will hopefully make a change starting from a small place and towards the whole Mediterranean region.
The visibility of the EU funding the ENPI CBC MED program high, starting from the GMI giveaways branded with the EU and Programme logos, along with the 2 meters rollups displayed at the event venue, and last but not least the elegant RVM branding.