Live Love Recycle

Live Love Recycle makes recycling easier and accessible to everyone by providing an on demand waste collection service on its mobile app.

Photo of Georges Bitar
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What milestones have you achieved so far?

We launched our service in 2017 with the support of the BMZ, WFP and ACTED and we managed to create 436 jobs for people from vulnerable communities including 20 women who were cooking for them daily. Today, despite all the challenges we face in our country Lebanon; high inflation rate, capital control, the loss of our offices after the Beirut blast, the rapid spread of the covid-19; we were able to launch our new mobile app and currently have 20 000 users of our service which resulted in saving more than 3000 tons of waste from going to landfills. In 2017, we first started operating in Beirut only and have expanded throughout the years to other cities in Lebanon like Tripoli and Metn. Our services are offered for free and in 2020, we added the e-payment option on our mobile app to receive donations and this allowed us to break even. After the Beirut blast, we collected 100 tons of broken glass and transformed it into beautiful water jugs which we sell on our platform.

Do you have any experience with corporate partnerships?

We feel very honored and privileged to have collaborated with many entities including: • The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), World Food Program and ACTED which have financed the OPEX of the first year and allowed us to launch the service and create jobs for 436 refugees. Working with them was extremely beneficial as we learned a lot from them and from their strict procedures and reporting methods. • UNDP which endorsed our project and are helping us expand across Lebanon. • The Swiss embassy in Lebanon which is recycling with us and gave us a grant to restore our offices and warehouse after they were destroyed by the 4th of August Beirut explosion. • Oxfam and GIZ with whom we have a cash for work program to create more jobs within our project. • Mepi Usaid which gave us a grant to update the app. • Nestlé and Total in Lebanon we whom we organized awareness workshops and nature cleanups for their employees.

How is your initiative influencing your field of work for the better?

Recycling was not really incorporated in the lifestyle of Lebanese citizens as there is a very big lack of awareness on the subject and there is no clear governmental waste management strategy. However, as pollution rate increased more and more Lebanese citizens felt it as their duty to recycle and Live Love Recycle was created to meet their demand and raise awareness on the importance of recycling. Through our social media platforms and awareness workshops at schools and in companies we created a solid community of environmental enthusiasts. Moreover, thanks to us a lot of recycling factories are now working at full capacity since we created a bridge between them and the citizens. Furthermore, we are the first ones in our field working through a mobile app and therefore digitizing the waste management field. We even raised money through Kickstarter. Our project inspired many people abroad and we were solicited to present our idea in France, New York, Algeria, Jordan and AbuDhabi.

What is the current composition of your team and how will this evolve as your initiative grows?

Our team is made of people coming from very different educational backgrounds. We are all united by the love of our country and mother nature. Georges Bitar is the founder and general manager of LiveLoveRecycle. He is full of ambition and hope for Lebanon. Ninette Karam has a background in agriculture engineering and has an MBA degree. She is currently working on expanding Live Love Recycle in Lebanon and abroad. Christian Nazha is our app developer. He has built the app on his own and is always seeking to improve it to give our clients the best experience possible. Josiane Elias is in charge of clients services. She is also in charge of our social media. She is passionate about photography and is behind every of our creative posts. Ibrahim Amar manages our drivers and workers in the warehouse making sure all operations are running smoothly. Christelle Nahra is the finance and accounting manager and makes sure our project is sustainable and receives enough funding.

Is there anything else about your initiative that we should know?

We received many awards including: • Best StartUp Award 2020-Greentech Festival Berlin • Green Apple Award UK • VivaTech Green Award Paris • Région Sud Méditerranéen Green Award - Région Sud Marseille France • MEM Summit Switzerland • Top 10 Green Startups Forbes Middle East 2020 • Startupper of the year 2018 by TOTAL Lebanon • Green project of the year 2018 by Lebanon Opportunities Lebanon We also took part in many programs including: UNIDO Rise program Turin; IMPACT Program Vienna.

What area of advice would be most helpful to you?

  • Communicating your idea, either generally or to potential investors and customers
  • Building your idea so that it is more commercially viable / Attracting more investors

Do you confirm that you have read and accept the terms and conditions of the Nestlé CSV Prize?

  • Yes

Eligibility

  • I’m 18 or older
  • I’m fluent in English
  • My organization is a nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or has a fiscal sponsor
  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, and that I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2020.

How did you hear about the CSV Prize?

  • Nestlé Network

Last Name

Bitar

First Name

Georges

Role in the Organization

Founder

Linkedin Profile

https://www.linkedin.com/in/georges-bitar-b0a80428/

Are you an Ashoka Fellow?

  • no

Have you applied to previous versions of the CSV Prize?

  • no

Name of the Organization

Live Love Lebanon

Founding Year

2013

Website of the Organization

www.liveloverecycle.com

Instagram of the Organization

https://www.instagram.com/liveloverecycle/

Facebook of the Organization

https://www.facebook.com/LLRecycle

Linkedin of the Organization

https://www.facebook.com/LLRecycle

Headquarters Location

Lebanon, Beirut

Type of Organization

  • Non Profit, NGO, or Citizen Sector Organization

Location(s) of Impact

Lebanon: Beirut, Tripoli and Metn

Maturity Stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Focus Area

  • How can production models and delivery systems be redesigned to eliminate waste?
  • What can food & beverage packaging become after consumption to be a resource for new usage?
  • What ground-up solutions are there to tackle packaging waste in communities?
  • How can consumers, suppliers, and producers be incentivized to adopt a circularity mindset?

Description of the Organization

LiveLoveLebanon designs and implements sustainable programs that foster people’s love and engagement for their nature, culture and community through our different social media channels, our most popular channel being LiveLoveBeirut (+500K followers on Instagram). The initiative of LiveLoveRecycle came to life in 2017, when the garbage crisis started to hit Lebanon, Georges Bitar, one of the founding members of LiveLoveLebanon, couldn’t watch the streets of Beirut being flooded with garbage. One solution to this problem was to increase the recycling rate in Lebanon in order to decrease the amount of garbage that piles up in our landfills. He approached Uber and conducted with them a 3 months experiment which consists of passing by the citizens’ houses to collect the recyclables upon demand. At the end of trial, Georges decided to launch Live Love Recycle and surrounded himself with a team of environmental enthusiasts whose sole goal is to make Beirut Greener and Cleaner.

The Initiative

LiveLoveRecycle is the environmental initiative of our NGO. Our country Lebanon has been facing a massive waste crisis for many years mainly due to the improper management of collection and disposal of waste. We felt really concerned about the situation and wanted to find a long term sustainable solution for it. We first started sorting our waste at home but we couldn’t find any proper and reliable way to dispose of our recyclables. This is how the idea of LiveLoveRecycle came to us. LiveLoveRecyclable improves circular economy by providing a service to Beirut Residents which allows them to request a collection for their recyclables at their convenience through our mobile application giving them an easy tool to sort and recycle and thereby connects all the stakeholders of the recycling process. We launched our service in 2017 with the support of the BMZ, WFP and ACTED and we managed to create 436 jobs for people from vulnerable communities.

The Problem

Lebanon has been dealing with the same problem for many years now which is the mismanagement of waste. No clear plan and strategy has been put by the government to decrease the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and no incentives have been put in place to encourage the citizens to recycle. In addition, the government lacks data on waste management to install proper waste management policies. The result is a country which is flooded with garbage and severely polluted. Citizens lost their trust in the government and do not believe that their waste is being properly treated. A lot of them want to recycle but don’t know where and how to dispose of their recyclables. Surprisingly, our recycling plants are only at 40% of their capacity which clearly shows that the problem is a logistical one. Also, Lebanon imports 750M$ of raw material every year. As we are facing a critical economic crisis, we can reduce this amount and help our economy by using our local recyclable material.

The Solution

We digitized the waste management sector and created a platform that links all the stakeholders of the recycling process. With our user app, our customers can request a pick up for their recyclables at their convenience and also be able to track it to make sure it is being properly recycled. It also provides them with guidelines on proper sorting and incentivizes them to recycle by rewarding their efforts with eco-points redeemable for gifts. With our collectors app, we created jobs for people from vulnerable communities and helped reduce the cost of transportation of waste and the CO2 emission by making the routing more efficient and sending the right vehicule adapted to the number of bags people want to give. With the recycling facility app, recycling plants will better manage their stock of recyclables and communicate with the users to inform them on the errors made in their sorting to reduce the cost of the second sorting at their premises.

The Innovation

Our first competitor is the municipality recycling bins on the streets which are hard to locate and very scarce and do not guarantee the proper recycling of material. Other competitors include NGOs and recycling businesses who provide recyclable collection service. However, they impose collection times and offer their service at a very high rate. They also use very large vehicles which makes it complicated for them to navigate through the narrow streets of Beirut. What makes us stand out is that we offer a convenient affordable recycling collection service to our clients. Our client can request a pick up wherever and whenever he wants. Also, we offer a very quick service as our drivers pick up the recyclables using motor bikes.Our app is unique in its kind and very user-friendly with its eco scanner embedded in it, clients can scan any product and receive direct guidelines on how to sort it. In addition, clients can track their waste bags and be reassured that it is properly recycled

The Impact

Since the launch of the organization, we have had an extremely positive impact on recycling in Lebanon: In 2017, we received a one year grant from BMZ, the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany) , World Food Program , and Acted that allowed us to recruit 436 drivers including 20 women who were cooking daily for them. SDG#1,2,5 8 Today we are serving over 20,000 households in Beirut with an increase rate of 12% per month and so far, we have managed to save more than 3000 Tons of recyclables from polluting our landfills and sea while creating 20 Full time jobs for workers from vulnerable communities. SDG# 11,12 ,13 Other impacts include raising better future generations by raising awareness on the importance of recycling as we have been solicited by many schools and companies to give workshops on how to properly sort waste. We have also conducted over 50 nature cleanups with over 5,000 volunteers from all the corners of Lebanon.

The Business Model

We are currently operating in the area of Beirut and its surrounding and have around 20,000 active users with an increase rate of 12% per month. In 2019, we did a Kickstarter campaign and were able to sell 20K collections at 3$ each. So far, we have been able to sustain ourselves with grants and donations. Starting 2020 we added an optional e-payment on our app. Our customers responded favorably to the optional collection fee and on top of that some customers even tip our drivers . On the other hand, we generate revenue by selling the collected recyclables at an average rate of 120$ per ton. Over these past years, we were able to collect over 1000 tons of recyclables and generate 120,000$. Our Annual budget : · Collection Fees: 30% · Selling of recyclables: 30% · Grants: 20% · Advertising on app and social media: 10% With the increase of requests we will soon be able to sustain our operations on our own in the coming 6 months.

2020 Budget

  • $50k - $100k 

Projected Budget

  • $100k - $250k 

The Scalability

Our goal is to create a platform which unites all the actors of the recycling process and establishes a synergy among them. We would love to see other NGOs or businesses, locally or internationally, use our platform to reduce their cost and work more efficiently. We would also like to extend our services to the local authorities which can use our platform to better monitor and manage the generated waste and create campaigns to encourage recycling in collaboration with our social media channels (+500k followers). Furthermore, we believe our project is easily scalable on the international level as 90.5% of the plastic worldwide is not recycled and over 2.000.000.000 citizens in the world lack proper access to recyclables collection service. Nowadays 50 tons of waste is produced every second in the world and this amount is expected to double in 2050 which is why we need to act fast and replicate our initiative on an international level to prevent this ecological disaster.

The Collaboration

Lebanese people consume a lot of water plastic bottles which constitute 35% of the collected recyclable material. We can establish a partnership with Nestlé whereby we collect plastic bottles for them which can be recycled to produce new bottles. This will reduce the cost of raw material and help Nestlé reach its goal to make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025 and to reduce its use of virgin plastics by one-third. With our eco scanner, our customers can scan Nestlé products, learn how to recycle them and get rewarded with Nestlé products. Also, partnering with Nestlé will be very beneficial to us since we will be able to receive mentorship and benefit from its worldwide network and experience to expand internationally. Moreover, any cash support is very important to us today more than ever since the Lebanese banks froze the accounts of all the Lebanese citizens which makes it very hard for us to run our operations and further develop our project on an international level.

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Photo of Elena Hauptmann

I am really intrigued to learn more about your app-based solution. Do you also offer educational material on recycling and how to recycle on the app or is it focussed on the recylable collection process? If you want, it would be great to connect as I believe we could learn a lot from each other (elena@buyoodwithplastic.org).

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Photo of Georges Bitar

Elena Hauptmann Yes we do offer educational material with clear instructions on how to sort your waste on the app . It is important for us that sorting at source is done properly and efficiently.
We also give awareness workshops on the importance of recycling at schools and for private companies.

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