Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Waste on the Wheel

Project #
College of the Atlantic
  • Moni Ayoub
  • Andela Roncevic

Waste on the Wheel

One summer after 3,000 tons of uncollected garbage were left rotting on the streets of Beirut and police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands who protested against the mess, Moni Ayoub and Andela Roncevic created a recycling system in the small Lebanese community of Barsa, Moni’s hometown. They delivered three bins — for plastic, glass and metal, and cardboard — to a total of 150 households, then set up 19 recycling stations where the separated materials could be placed into repurposed oil drums, painted yellow for glass and metal, green for plastic, and red for paper and cardboard.

“The atmosphere was balanced and accepting,” the students report. They arranged for metal buyers to pick up the deposited metal. The paper and cardboard were purchased by a paper-goods company, and the plastic went to a maker of plastic chairs. Municipal leaders expressed interest in continuing the project; if they do, the students believe its ongoing revenues will be used to put more recycling bins in local homes.

The Beirut trash crisis began with the closing of an overfilled landfill — and in its aftermath, “we must find a peaceful alternative for sustainable waste management,” write Moni and Andela, who is from Croatia. “Our project can encourage other villages and towns to develop recycling systems.” In three neighboring communities, they add, “this has already begun happening.”