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 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.
The plasticycle project
Lebanon has been facing multiple crisis in the last couple of years – the project “Plasticycle” aims to tackle almost all of them.
Firstly, the country has been facing a waste crisis leading to potentially severe health and environmental effects. In fact, failure to adapt a comprehensive framework for effective waste management has led to an increase in the amount of waste piling up in the streets and landfills. Based on field investigations, polyethylene and polypropylene plastic bags are one of the most generated and untreated type of plastic in Lebanon.
Secondly, Lebanon is also undergoing an economic crisis nowadays. Lebanon relies on imports across a wide variety of sectors, especially in the plastic industry. In the current situation, the importation of raw materials has created challenges across the plastic industrials due to the restrictive monetary policies and the shortage of dollars.
Therefore, the aim of the project is to provide the Lebanese market with a much needed product: PP and PE plastic pellets by using the extrusion recycling of the plastics generated. It is important to note that Plasticycle has 3 sustainability pillars:
- On the environmental level, this project will provide an important sustainable solution for the plastic bags generated in Lebanon.
- On the social level, this project will empower the youth by providing them low cost raw material with a good quality which encourages startups and young investors in the plastic industry. Plasticycle also provides new job opportunities including workers, technicians, supervisors, and manager.
- On the economic level, this project constitutes a boost for the plastic industry in Lebanon because it provides the Lebanese market with a much needed product at a low cost without being related to the foreign currency.
WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS INITIATIVE?
Lebanon, a nation that once proudly known as Switzerland of the Middle East, is today a country in name only. We believe that the only way for Lebanon to re-earn the label it once had, starts with students and young people like us thinking outside the box to find solutions to existing problems in our country.
On a side note, this initiative constitutes a great opportunity for us to build a network with students and mentors from the Middle East and Switzerland and it is also a new experience that will help us improve ourselves.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SWITZERLAND?
Switzerland has beautiful sceneries and its huge respect for the environment. Not to forget its culture, its traditional dishes like the famous swiss fondue and swiss chocolate and its well-known touristic sites like its fairy tale castles, its beautiful lakes.
On the organizational level, the federal system and the decentralization are very appealing as they create healthy competition and a sense of responsibility but also control. It is also important to mention the renowned swiss educational system. All these factors listed make Switzerland known as one of the safest and happiest countries in the world.
WHO ARE THE TEAM MEMBERS?
- Peter Obeid, a fresh chemical engineering graduate from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon (USEK) with a passion for renewable energy and waste management. I am skilled in all aspects of chemical engineering including process design and safety improvements. I enjoy overcoming challenges, and I have a genuine interest in business management, entrepreneurship. Moreover, I am the former winner of the on campus Hult Prize for innovation with my startup Trifle and the co-Founder of the AIChE alumni network in USEK. Since I have worked on the plastic bags recycling via extrusion process, I am the co-Founder of Plasticycle.
- Marylise Salim, a fresh chemical engineering graduate from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon (USEK). I am the co-Founder and team leader of Plasticycle as I have worked on the recycling of the plastic bags via extrusion process for my final year project. I also had several internship opportunities in different fields. Moreover, I am passionate about innovative environmental project in the chemical engineering field. Currently, I am a scout commissioner at “Les Scouts du Liban” and the co-Founder of the AIChE alumni network in USEK. These volunteering activities helped me developing management and communication skills.