Lebanon produces 2.04 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) per year (2013 data). MSW generation is projected to increase by 1.65% per year. Each person generates approximately between 0.8 and 1.2 kg per day.
The private sector is highly involved in the collection, transfer, disposal and treatment of the MSW. Nevertheless, illegal Scavenging activities are continuously undertaken in the country.
To date, there is no specific legislative framework dealing directly with MSW management in Lebanon. However, an emergency plan was devised for Greater Beirut area in 1998 and on which the government of Lebanon is still relying. Several international development organizations have provided technical and financial support to municipalities outside greater Beirut Region. Back in the 2010’s, there were several Solid Waste Management (SWM) plans that were prepared and several other attempts to get the parliament approval on draft laws recognizing and proposing an integrative approach to SWM in addition to those providing incentives to municipalities.
MSW in Lebanon is composed of 16% paper; 11.5% plastic; 5.5% Metal; 3.5% glass and 52.5% organic waste.
15% of the MSW are composted, 8% recycled, 48% landfilled and 29% openly dumped.
In total there are 9 sanitary landfills, 3 of which are operational, 3 are constructed and the rest planned or under construction
Nationally, the following disposal and treatment activities are being carried out:
- Recovering materials, pressing, recycling and even exporting recyclables (across Lebanon)
- Landfilling (greater Beirut) and open dumping (outside greater Beirut)
- Waste to energy from Landfills ( Naameh Landfill)
- Construction and operation of an anaerobic digestor ( Saida)
- Upcycling initiatives across Lebanon whereby some hard to recycle materials or non recyclable materials are reused and re-purposed naming :tires, tire inner tubes; colored glass bottles; cloths; flex banners etc.
For the past few years, several stakeholders have committed themselves to instigating a cultural change and raising awareness in schools, universities, companies and residences. Awareness related to the 3 Rs is on a rise among the Lebanese community whether through customized presentations, workshops, mass media channels, activities and games during events, focused and entertaining competitions,theatrical plays etc. Extensive and continuous efforts from Averda group, NGOs, civil society, municipalities and international organizations are being undertaken to induce a behavioral recycling change within the Lebanese community. Ample awareness and motivation along with provision of the necessary tools are resources that will instigate the community to recycle more.
In the past few years, several recycling programs (e.g Red and Blue recycling program, GMI, etc.) were launched in different regions of Lebanon inciting, motivating and encouraging the citizens to sort at source either privately within their premises or publicly through recycling points in specific private areas.
Sweep-net country report, April 2014. Country report on solids waste management, Sweep-Net, GIZ and german cooperation, April 2014.
MOE/UNDP/ECODIT, 2011. State and Trends of the Lebanese environment, Solid Waste Ch 8, 2010.