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.
Think Different, Think TADWIR
Humans are gradually becoming aware of the risks of plastic waste, and as technology advances, more plastic is recycled and reused. However, this is insufficient! 40% of plastic waste still goes to landfills without any kind of recycling and 35% escape the collecting system.
When asked about what is the biggest pain Lebanese sorting centers are experiencing in their work, the answer was the lack of communication between them and industries using recycled plastic. Especially now, the need for plastic in manufacturing industries cannot be predicted accurately in Lebanon where continuous lockdowns and the economic crisis are affecting production. With these facts in mind, our project aims to minimize the amount of plastic in the environment and its carbon footprint by reintroducing it into the supply chain as a raw material. Moreover, this project will also aim to improve the quality of the plastic collection, the recycling system and therefore lowering the carbon emissions associated with plastic transportation.
Our project consists of an online platform aiming to restore communication between different stakeholders involved in the use of recycled plastic in the industries. In real-time, sorting centers and recycling facilities will be able to publish their inventory, stating the quantities and qualities (type, color, characteristics…) of the plastic they currently have. On the other hand, product manufacturing companies could publish their need at once. Our platform could then match the offer to the demand while also considering location and transportation thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Connecting these two ends of the product lifecycle is crucial for establishing functional recycling chains, circular economy and achieving environmental sustainability.
WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS INITIATIVE?
We are interested in joining this initiative for multiple reasons. First, this initiative will allow us to be an inspiring example in the push for environmental education and protection in the Mediterranean, hence being part in solving the solid waste crisis in Lebanon, which is threatening the lives of Lebanese citizens and the whole eco-system. Second, such initiative will give us the opportunity to gain diverse skills and expertise that are not related to our major and background. Moreover, it will help us by creating decent, empowering job opportunities. Adding to that, recycling is crucial to the future health of our planet. Hence, we will be able to save the future generations and conserve natural resources.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SWITZERLAND?
When first asked what we loved about Switzerland, most of the team jokingly said THE CHOCOLATE. While I don’t think it is completely a joke, I can think of a lot of other things that make Switzerland a very special country. First is its neutrality, this principle allows Swiss citizen to live in a peace that we Lebanese very much envy. Second is Switzerland’s respect for human rights and freedom offering an amazingly high quality of life. Third is diversity, four official languages speak a lot about how Switzerland is such a diverse country. Fourth is the fact that Switzerland has one of the highest GDP Per Capita in the world at an astonishing $83,717 in 2019. To wrap this up: peace, quality of life, diversity, money, and most importantly chocolate make Switzerland the great country that it is.
WHO ARE THE TEAM MEMBERS?
- Céline Chemali – In 2015, I was fresh out of high school and had no clue what to do with my life. Then, few months after joining a BS in Biology program, a waste crisis started in Lebanon. Driving to university everyday with solid waste around me made me realize what I wanted to do: save the environment. I joined an environmental club and started working on recycling. Later, I started bullying my friends and family for using plastic bottles. And now, 6 years after the crisis (with still no real solution adopted), I am almost done with my master’s in environmental sciences and management. I still bully people for using plastic bottles, but the difference is that now I do it for a living.
- Nour Rizkallah – Growing up as a dedicated member in the Lebanese Scouts Organization and following my passion for exploration and photography, I always ended up going on various adventures in the natures of Lebanon and always felt saddened about the lack of environmental education and responsibility amongst my peers. Graduating in Geography, with a specialization in Environment and Land-use Planning, I am currently pursuing a master degree in Environmental Sciences and Management at Saint-Joseph University of Beirut. This venture, Tadwir, enables me leave my mark while fulfilling the promise I once made, to always do my best and help others whatever the circumstances.
- Roberto Sfeir – Roberto Sfeir was born in Kesserwane, Lebanon year 2000. He is a student at USJ, graduating in 2021 with a Bachelor in Physics. He has done multiple presentations through his path coming from his baccalaureate to his years in university Physics, Astronomy, History, Biology, and art. His interest in environment made him take a course that lead into visiting an NGO in for electronic waste in Lebanon. He also grouped and participated in Hult Prize 2020 about Greenhouse Gaz Reduction where he also pitched the project, he took home a certificate of participation. Now he is a member of Project “Tadwir” of Youth Circular challenge taking place in 2021, which got qualified in the first round.
- Veronica Abou Kheir – Veronica Abou kheir holds a BS in Chemistry and working on her Master’s degree in Environmental Management and Sciences. She is interested in environmental sustainability to have healthy communities with clean air, water, and soil. Her experiences were focused on wastewater treatment systems, where she developed her abilities to collect and analyze data while highlighting some critical points. The purpose of joining the SMECEYI was to be part of the solution of plastic waste, through working with TADWIR team to provide the finest plan. She believes that the only way to protect humanity is to invest in the environment.
- Rebecca EL Zahlaniyeh – My name is Rebecca Zahlaniyeh, I am 26 years old. I have completed my undergraduate studies in Mathematics at the University of Saint Joseph, Beirut. Currently I am a third-year doctoral student in joint supervision between University Sorbonne Paris Nord and Saint Joseph university of Beirut. My doctorate thesis is focused on fluid mechanics. I am expected to graduate in September 2021. I am passionate about teaching. I want to teach, guide, and most of all I want to make a difference in my society. The same reason pushed me to be part of this initiative. Being an active social member of the Lebanese society by trying to solve one of its biggest solid waste problems will allow me to make a difference in my society and be part of the solution.
- Leba Semaani – When I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I wanted a career choice that answers all my questions about my surroundings. I wanted to understand current events, including news about petroleum, products, pollution, environment, renewable energy and technological advances. This curiosity developed into a passion. That’s why I decided to become a Chemist.Three years of chemistry have enriched me with invaluable knowledge and a wide variety of skill sets, but the thirst to learn more was never quenched. Based on this I chose a career that will leave a real mark in our world, especially the industrial-environmental field. As a first year master degree student in Industrial Technology, I think TADWIR project can help me reach this goal.