YOUTH FOR CIRCULAR ECONOMY
The Swiss Pavilion in partnership with Swissnex has launched the Swiss – Middle East Circular Economy for Youth Initiative (SMECEYI). This initiative brings together students from universities across the Middle East region to develop innovative solutions for a cleaner environment, promoting the circular economy and encouraging youth empowerment.
Mentors from Swiss universities and companies are working hand in hand with the teams, facilitating exchanges and strategic connections for future collaborations. Best projects will be exposed at the Swiss Pavilion and team members will be invited to take part in additional activities, such as workshops and joint panels, leading to unique networking opportunities.
Finalists will be announced during summer and will be given opportunities to further develop their project, in partnership with our judges, mentors and local incubators. Let’s discover the 10 selected teams who are enabling youth empowerment and waste management with their solutions.
Lebanon is very well known for its tabbouleh and hummus. However, Lebanese people don’t know how to handle food leftovers. RE-LOOP aims at returning all organic garbage to the state of resource. Once sorted into three categories, waste will be turned into one of the following products: compost, biochar or plastic. All these products are extremely interesting for Lebanon, a country where neither plastic raw material nor fertilizers are available. Moreover, the plastic we will produce is biodegradable, meaning that we will also be partially tackling plastic waste. Our main activity will be to collect waste from households and treat them at our facility to transform them into our products. Spreading the circular economy culture and emphasizing how important it is to reduce resource consumption will be the second goal. Accomplishing both these goals will require us to employ people from multiple backgrounds, thus creating job opportunities for the Lebanese people and internship positions for the students.
WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS INITIATIVE?
The waste management system in Lebanon has been the same since 1975. All trash is collected by a single company and taken to landfills with no treatment. However, organic trash can be turned into many resources that are useful to the country. With the appropriate procedures, project RE-LOOP intends to turn trash into extremely useful products. Moreover, we know that the main problem in Lebanon lies in the ignorance of people. We feel it is our duty to spread knowledge regarding a problem as important as bad waste management all while bringing new solutions.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SWITZERLAND?
Switzerland is known for being one of the most beautiful and calm places on earth. The people there understand the true meaning of serenity, hence their geopolitical neutrality. Another amazing aspect regarding the Swiss is the respect they have for the environment. This characteristic allowed them to maintain the beauty of their landscapes. However, the most appealing feature of this country is the high esteem in which it holds youth. All these points, and much more, make Switzerland the dream destination for any Lebanese student.
WHO ARE THE TEAM MEMBERS?
- Rayan Nassereddine, 22 years old, I am a 2nd year master’s student in food chemistry at Saint Joseph’s university of Beirut, with a BS in biochemistry from the same university. I have always been interested in finding solutions for the huge amount of organic waste in Lebanon. This competition gave me the chance to learn more about the concept of Circular Economy and sustainable management strategies which is a field that I am very interested in. In this project I’m the biochar specialist, I will be in charge of supervising the production chain and ensuring our high standards. With RE-LOOP we hope to help our community to reduce organic waste to the maximum.
- Christian Abi-Khalil, 24 years old, I am a 2nd year master’s student in food chemistry at Saint Joseph’s university of Beirut, with a BS in biochemistry from the same establishment. I’m a huge advocate for youth empowerment and independency which is why I started working at the age of 15. After multiple jobs in different operations, I am currently a call center operator at Donner Sang Compter, an NGO responsible for securing blood donation for people in need. In this project, my role will be to build the operation by combining my experience and scientific knowledge with that of my partners.
- Amira Abou Aichi: I am currently completing my second year in biology – biochemistry at the Saint-Joseph University of Beirut. In addition to my biochemistry degree, I am also pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in industrial technology – CMI (Cursus Master en Ingénierie). The latter will allow me to improve and make the industrial sector more interested in producing innovating products that are ecofriendly. This will help protect my community and all future generations by reducing the environmental problems that are multiplying continuously. In this project, I’m sharing all my knowledge and innovative ideas for the purpose of helping my country implement an effective and sustainable waste management strategy.
- Anna-Maria Abi-Khattar : I hold a BS degree in biochemistry and a master’s degree in food chemistry. Currently doing a PhD in process engineer. In this project, I contribute as a researcher to ensure the reliability and validation of the process.
- Gaelle Farah: a first-year master’s student in functional genomics and proteomics at Saint Joseph’s University of Beirut. I am an ex red cross youth department volunteer of three years, and I have various interests of which reading, music and space sciences. I have participated in the on campus Hult Prize 2020 and won second place for my project that was also sustainability and environment oriented. In this project, I mainly contribute to the research and development part regarding the scientific molecular aspect of the it to ensure a smooth-running operation.