DAWERR Ideathon: Challenges and Opportunities in Solid Waste Management

Jun 23 2021

The DAWERR Ideathon has an open call for innovators interested in solving challenges that municipalities face in the solid waste management sector, from generation to final disposal.

The aim is to introduce financially sustainable solutions that increase the reuse, push for recycling, and monetize solid waste ultimately reducing the amount of solid waste that goes to landfills.

Applicants are encouraged to work on one of the 8 real-life challenges that the team has put together to allow them to create solutions with maximum impact:

Challenge 1: Sorting at Source

An important factor in producing good quality compost is relying on households and food-related businesses to sort effectively at source. We are looking for a solution that encourages people to properly sort their organic waste and create incentives for them to take action and properly separate their organic waste.

What is needed: How can your innovation take sorting to the next level and achieve better community engagement while creating awareness for a lesser cost?

Challenge 2: Marketing recycled products – or Eco-marketing

Today, consumers are increasingly conscious of environmental issues and many wish to buy and consume environmentally friendly products. One way to increase the demand for recycled products is by establishing a green trademark that incites people to buy consumer goods from recycled materials and organic compost.

What is needed: How can you innovate in establishing and marketing a green trademark to enable the sales of products made with recycled and reused materials in Lebanon?

Challenge 3: Non-degradable waste

In nature, different materials biodegrade at different rates. Hard materials like tires, nylon, and tin cans take anywhere between 25 to 100 years to disintegrate, while plastic, Styrofoam, and glass could take 500 to 1 million years. 

What is needed: How would you innovate in diverting waste that currently does not have local recycling options and ends up in landfills like Styrofoam, glass, tires, etc. to repurpose it in different industries such as furniture, accessories, and clothing as an example?

Challenge 4: Secondary Sorting

Sometimes, sorting organic waste could include some anomalies that would affect the quality of compost produced. We are looking for a solution that helps composters/composting facilities detect those anomalies and remove them.

What is needed: How could secondary sorting be optimized to reduce or detect the contamination of recovered waste thus minimizing cost and improving quality?

Challenge 5: Single-use products

While single-use products like straws, plastic forks, plastic bags enjoy a long life sailing across the seas and oceans contaminating and threatening marine life and ecosystems, and with the fact that many of these items are not recyclable, we are looking to have fewer single-use items ending up in landfills.

What is needed: How would you innovate to reuse or recover single-use products?

Challenge 6: Community Driven Solid Waste Management Solutions

The philosophy of ‘a waste avoided is more than a waste recovered’ stems from the need to push people to make decisions to avoid generating waste, setting priorities, and using the resources available to them more efficiently.

What is needed: Find a business model that economically drives community members to reduce or reuse.

Challenge 7: Collection of waste

Organic waste has a short storage time before it goes bad and starts generating unpleasant odors complicating its handling and storage process at the source.

What is needed: We are looking for innovative solutions that would provide cost-effective and sustainable approaches for the collection of sorted organic waste.

Challenge 8: Refurbishing and reselling

With the current economic situation in Lebanon, unemployment rates are increasing, and more people are dropping below the poverty line reducing or limiting their purchasing power and access to consumer goods with no system in place to ensure the circularity of these goods.

What is needed: How would you enable the recovery, repair, and/or resale of appliances, electronics, and other materials to people in need?

The DAWERR Ideathon aims to encourage and support ideas at an early stage, allowing participants to discover real challenges facing the municipal solid waste management sector across Lebanon, particularly in rural areas, to learn how to transform their ideas into valid business solutions through intensive online workshops, and then to pitch their proposed solutions to a panel of judges.

Held online over 5 consecutive days, the Ideathon is an exciting opportunity allowing young entrepreneurs and startups to develop innovative solid waste management solutions around the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) to solve real problems/challenges in rural communities. Entrepreneurs, professionals, and experts from different backgrounds are given the opportunity to learn, experiment, and build their green solutions.

Three winners will receive in-kind grants as well as a 2-months incubation time from Berytech to support them with further technical and business needs. Read more and apply here: https://berytech.org/events/dawerr-ideathon-2021/ 

The Diverting Waste by Encouraging Reuse and Recycling Activity (DAWERR) is a five-year activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that aims to improve the social, environmental, and economic well-being of Lebanese citizens by establishing sustainable solid waste recovery and diversion programs in collaboration with municipalities throughout rural areas in Lebanon. Learn more about DAWERR Activity: https://berytech.org/programs/dawerr/ 

Source: Berytech