Unveiling the transformative power of composting in Lebanon

In December 2023, a three-day workshop explored the theoretical foundations and practical applications of composting, a practice that allows citizens to transform waste into a valuable resource, fostering sustainability.

Participants at the Composting Workshop.
Composting can allow us to transform waste into a solution! Photo: Rhea Kahale.

As concern for the environment grows, composting has become a popular way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for gardens. Yet citizens in my country, Lebanon, are not always aware of the multiple benefits of this rewarding practice. Realizing this, we started a locally-driven initiative to organize a Compost Theoretical and Practical Workshop as part of our 2023 Lebanon project, implemented by the European Forest Institute Mediterranean Facility (EFIMED) with the support of the Barcelona Provincial Council (DIBA). This immersive workshop served as a gateway to a world where waste becomes a resource, and composting emerges as a transformative solution.

The workshop unfolded with a dynamic blend of expert-led theoretical sessions, unravelling the science behind composting. Participants gained a profound understanding of the ecological significance of composting, discovering how it not only minimizes waste but also enriches soil health, fostering a harmonious relationship between humans and the environment.

Mr. Nassar presenting at the workshop. Photo: Rhea Kahale.

The workshop started with an insightful overview of waste types, emphasizing the significance of reducing food waste and discussing strategies for waste reduction. Mr. Nassar, the keynote speaker of the event, provided a comprehensive exploration of composting methods, distinguishing between anaerobic and aerobic processes and describing the four key composting factors. Participants then engaged in group activities to identify compostable and non-compostable items, with detailed explanations of suitable and unsuitable materials. The session further delved into diverse composting methods, from on-site options like bins to municipal and commercial systems, again emphasizing the distinction between aerobic and anaerobic approaches. The third session concentrated on backyard composting, addressing tools, texture, and the practical process, laying the groundwork for the ensuing hands-on session.

The practical aspect of the workshop brought theory to life, with participants actively engaging in the construction of compost systems. Seasoned professionals guided hands-on activities, demonstrating the details of waste collection, the importance of brown layers for proper drainage, and the art of building a tea compost from green waste. These tangible experiences not only reinforced theoretical knowledge but also empower participants to replicate and implement composting solutions in their own communities.

The speakers at the composting workshop. Photo: Rhea Kahale.

This workshop represented a powerful tool for environmental transformation. Participants went beyond learning the mechanics of composting and explored its broader implications, developing a deep-seated environmental consciousness that empowers them to act as agents of change within their communities. The hands-on experience not only benefitted individual households but also served as a springboard for inspiring widespread adoption of sustainable practices.

Find out more about all the activities included in this development cooperation initiative in Lebanon!

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Rhea Kahale
Expert in Biodiversity Conservation and Management, working on setting prioritization schemes in terms of conservation decisions, including which species to conserve, locations to establish protected areas, maintaining genetic diversity, conservation actions and modalities to address specific threats.