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Determinants of waste characterization in Lebanon and material recovery potential


Waste represents a largely untapped source of raw material in many countries, as resource recovery rates remain generally low despite most of the disposed stream being composed of recoverable material. Reliable waste characterization data are the primary measure in shaping effective waste recovery strategies. Normally, such data are scarce in low and middle-income countries and if it exists, it is generally incompatible and commonly based on assumptions rather than scientific studies. This study aims to assess the determinants of waste characterization in Lebanon and the implications for planning sustainable waste management systems. Accordingly, three thorough and comprehensive waste characterization studies were conducted targeting three Federations of municipalities. Results revealed that the organic fraction is the most prominent in household waste followed by plastics and paper. Unlike the quantity of recyclables that was proportional to income level, organic waste and income level were inversely proportional. The high amount of organic waste along with recyclables make composting and recycling feasible solid waste management processes that can substantially reduce the amount of waste to be landfilled. Thus, negating the need for land particularly in areas where land availability is a challenge.

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The authors would like to extend their appreciation and gratitude to the European Commission for funding this research project. The authors would also like to thank the Federation of Municipalities of Eklim El Teffah for the fieldwork support throughout the project.


This work was supported by the European Commission [Grant #: ENI/2018/398-061, 2018].

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Correspondence to May A. Massoud.

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Massoud, M.A., Mokbel, M. Determinants of waste characterization in Lebanon and material recovery potential. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 24, 1913–1922 (2022).

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  • Waste characterization
  • Determinants
  • Low-middle-income countries
  • Material recovery