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For the past three years, the Mediterranean project RE-MED has been promoting circular economy practices for the management, recycling, and reuse of construction and demolition waste, particularly in Lebanon. This significant initiative is currently being showcased at the Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.

This is a project that could improve Lebanon’s waste management practices. An exceptionally significant project poised to be highlighted during COP28 in Dubai from November 30 to December 12. Meet RE-MED, a Mediterranean initiative dedicated to recycling construction and demolition waste.

Starting in September 2020 and ending in December 2020, RE-MED is a collaborative initiative led by France, Italy, and the European Union (EU) aimed at bringing positive impacts to its initial beneficiaries, Lebanon, and Tunisia.

They will be able to improve the collection and processing of construction waste through seminars, conferences, skill transfers, financial and logistical support, and laboratory trials to demonstrate the viability of the concept and open up new markets. RE-MED benefited from a budget of 3.2 million euros, with 90% of the funding provided by the EU through various grants.

Assistance and Incentives for Lebanon

In Lebanon, three key beneficiaries stood out: the Ministry of Environment, notably Minister Nasser Yassine -who invested a lot in the project according to organizers-, the Contractors Syndicate for Public Works, and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the American University of Beirut.

“We’ve developed a guide for the valorization of construction waste in Lebanon, as well as several macro and microeconomic guides designed for businesses. The primary objective is to foster awareness of the circular economy,” explained Oumaya Marzouk, the main coordinator of RE-MED, in an interview with This is Beirut. For instance, the project allocated a 60,000-euro subsidy to a recycling station in Nabatieh (Southern Lebanon). The overseeing company, Fakih Brothers, obtained support in launching the production of recycled aggregates from construction materials, which are now available for sale to public works companies.

RE-MED’s objective is to demonstrate the potential to use construction and demolition waste, recycle it, and then sell it to businesses in the sector. These businesses will, in return, generate similar waste, fostering a continuous cycle of recycling.

A pioneering pilot road has been constructed in Tunisia to demonstrate the value and reliability of recycled materials. Oumaya Marzouk emphasized that “the readiness of the country, the enforcement of laws, and the awareness of both public and private stakeholders greatly facilitated the initiative.”

A Lebanese Project in the Making

The project is in its early stages in Lebanon. “We anticipate that we will soon begin testing the recycled aggregate to demonstrate its worth and prepare for the launch of a first public market. We have begun training our partners in circular economy practices, including topics such as waste resale, collection, valuation, and the principles of eco-friendly public markets… This approach is new to the southern Mediterranean, whereas elsewhere it is already standard practice. It is now deemed inconceivable to build roads without the use of recyclable materials, both environmentally and economically wise” explained Oumaya Marzouk.

The project has enabled the implementation of the RE-MED Community, an online platform connecting stakeholders from Lebanon, Tunisia, France, and Italy. This is a platform where businesses, local authorities, transporters, and experts can share experiences and knowledge about recycling and the circular economy. These resources could be advantageous for Lebanon if the latter seriously plans to manage and perhaps repurpose its substantial waste in the future.

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