At first, trash collection in Lebanon stopped completely. Then, they started throwing the waste into the Mediterranean Sea.
Since 2015, the city of Beirut has been experiencing a garbage crisis. Due to political gridlock, trash collection has come to a halt and the garbage continues to pile up. The New York Times called the garbage crisis “a potent symbol of the dysfunctional, sect-based politics” that plague the small, crowded country of Lebanon.
This year at Beirut Design Week, participating designers focused on making recycled and up/cycled projects, in order to put a positive spin on the grotesque problem. “I think most designers already knew and were working on sustainable efforts, but the trash crisis gave weight to our argument.” said Beirut designer Guillaume Credoz.
The installation “Nationmetrix”, created by architect Roula Salamoun and artist Ieva Saudargaite, is meant as “a spatial representation of what it’s like to cross borders with a Lebanese passport”. The work was created with cords of recycled plastic.
Since 2013, the Green Glass Recycling Initiative Lebanon (GGRIL), created by Ziad Abichaker, has helped preserve artistic glassblowing traditions by supplying glassblowers with recycled glass and home design projects.
Also created by Green Glass Recycling Initiative founder, Ziad Abichaker, “ecoboards” are made using recycled plastic shopping bags and are used as a way of growing plants to form a “green wall”. “The panels are fully waterproof, last for hundreds of years and have all the right properties to handle soil, water and roots,”Abichaker told Dezeen.
Artist Paola Sakr created a series of biodegradable containers inspired by morning — the materials are coffee grounds and newspaper pulp. “We often generate waste before our day even begins,” said Sakr.
Designer and architect Guillaume Credoz specializes in digital fabrication techniques using recycled materials. His new concrete tiles are made from construction waste. “The trash crisis has been a turning point,” said Credoz, “I was already working with recycled aluminum and recycled plastic, but I saw in this crisis a chance to get heard by clients on our choices on sustainable materials.”
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