John Keats once said, “the poetry of the earth is never dead.”
And, for Ziad Abichaker, a Beirut-based environmental and industrial engineer and owner of Cedar Environmental, a company specialising in building Municipal Recycling Facilities (MRF) for the recycling of solid waste, this couldn’t be any truer. How?
Well, simply put, the local environmentalist brought about a novel recycling project, resuscitating an intricate type of artistry invented by the Phoenicians in the vicinity of the Mediterranean coast, the art of glassblowing. The upside? Well, apart from reviving a fantastic eastern Mediterranean trade, he has also protected the country’s last glassblowing family – the Khalifes – from going out of business, and recycled tons of used beer bottles. Pretty rad, don’t you think? For those of you who haven’t yet heard of GGRIL (Green Glass Recycling Initiative Lebanon), here’s how the story goes. During the July 2006 war, Lebanon’s only green glass manufacturing company – that used 50 percent recycled green glass in the production process of its new bottles – was demolished, hence creating a need for importation and in turn, posing a serious problem for Cedar Environmental, which was stocking the used bottles. In 2010, Abichaker began forging the idea of a green glass recycling program and a year later, after securing $25,000 in seed funding from the New York-based nonprofit Synergos and $1,500 worth of recycled paperboard from a local paper manufacturer, GGRIL was born. A long lost tradition lives on and makes way for a new era of sustainable design and green thinking. We heart it.