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Friday, 20 July 2012

Interview: SMART WASTE

Earlier this month, I wrote a post about Smart Waste, which is a non-profit Lebanese association that is devoted to the advancement of environmental matters in an interesting approach, by combining creativity to waste management. I wanted to delve into more detail to learn more about this association, so I interviewed Soha Atallah and Ms. Nell Abou Ghazale, the founders and brains behind this wonderful, green organisation.

  • Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us your role in the association?

I am Soha Atallah, LibanPack Director and National Coordinator of UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization). I have founded Smart Waste with Ms. Nell Abou Ghazale who also works with me at LibanPack, the Lebanese Packaging Center. Smart Waste is a personal initiative with Nell and it is completely independent from LibanPack and has other objectives which are mainly dedicated to the advancement of environmental issues, primarily that of increasing awareness about the detrimental impact of products at the end of their life cycle on the environment.

  • How did the idea of SMART WASTE come about and how was the association created?

We have difficulty in throwing solid waste, and the idea started as a personal hobby of creating useful objects out of solid waste. Actually we have been thinking of creating items and objects made out of recycled materials and waste since a long time ago and the designs were actually ready in our heads and they were just waiting to be implemented, especially since some of our furniture made of recycled materials are not easy to implement and require specialty skills. Therefore, when we got the opportunity to participate as Smart Waste in the Garden Show Exhibition we decided to bring Smart Waste to life and we have implemented the design and showcased them in the exhibition. We were very happy that the people liked our ideas and were so enthusiastic of supporting our mission for preserving the environment.

Some of the products created by Smart Waste

  • How does SMART WASTE operate exactly?

Smart Waste collects dying products that would otherwise end up in our landfills or in nature and give them a new life by transforming them into high-end objects. Besides being creative and user-friendly, each piece is carefully crafted by Smart Waste and is unique.

We are actually recycling metal, wood, glass and paper. In the future, we will work hand in hand with other structures who work towards the same goals, on creating campaigns in schools and other youth organizations, to raise awareness on recycling and reusing the daily waste produced in Lebanon. We have suppliers of raw material who provide us with the items we need for the collections we want to create. Sukleen is one of them.

Another product by Smart Waste

  • Where are you exactly located?

For the time being we don't have a shop or a showroom at the moment; we are operating online through our facebook page: and our website: We can be reached by phone on 03 446 029 and 03 828 141. We are also participating in exhibitions such as the Garden Show and we will also participate in the Jardins de Mazaar Exhibition that will take place in Faraya from 14-19 August 2012.

  • How many members do you currently have?

Our Association is still very young so at the moment we are only 4 persons.

  • Can anybody join the association and if yes, how?

Yes our NGO is open for membership and this will be possible as soon as we finalize the full papers for registration at the Lebanese Government.
  • The Main Objectives of Smart Waste are: 

1) Reuse Waste: By combining creativity to waste management and the "Recycle, Reuse and Reduce" concept, Smart Waste rethinks waste as raw material, for the creation of new and attractive products with an added value linked to their identity.

2) Protect our environment: Smart Waste prolongs the life of products that would otherwise be disposed if in nature at the end of their life cycle, and thus initiate a momentum towards the protection of the environment. 

3) Find Sources of Income: Smart Waste also contributes to the generation of income to unemployed individuals tasked to execute projects under the large umbrella of Recycling.

Soha Atallah wearing one of their funky creations!

Ms. Nell Abou Ghazale surrounded by Smart Waste items that they have created!

For more pictures, kindly check their facebook page.

I'd like to thank Soha and Ms. Nell for the time they have taken to answer my questions and what they have accomplished so far really is intriguing. This green approach is actually the first that I have heard of in Lebanon and is a great example for people to learn from. I wish you the best of luck in expanding your association and the work you do, and I look forward to hearing about Smart Waste again in the near future to see what more will be achieved!

And I would like to wish you all a peaceful and blessed Ramadan!!

Jazi xxx    

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