A renewable resource is being wasted. The landfills of Lebanon have become the final destination for glass products after they had served their purpose. Glazing and mirrors from buildings as well as all kinds of glass liquid containers are indiscriminately thrown away even though glass is one of the very few artificially made materials that remains a hundred percent renewable.

That’s right. Glass may be recycled indefinitely with absolutely no loss in the material’s mass. This has been the case since the revolutionary transparent substance was first invented during antiquity.

For a long time glass has been retrieved by Lebanese industries and refashioned into bottles and windows and whatever the market requires. But recently, the last operational glass factory, one that specializes in transparent glass (Soliver), has shut its doors and gone out of business.

A few years earlier, a tinted glass bottle manufacturer, which used recovered glass as most its sourced material, was irreparably damaged by Israeli bombs during the 2006 war.

Since then wine and beer producers, among others, have resorted to importing containers for their products. Simultaneously the traditional artisanal practice of glass blowing, which historically took its first steps in this very corner of the world during the Phoenician civilization, is experiencing a dramatic decline.

Source: Facebook/ggrilebanon

The few remaining artisans who have not abandoned this practice to pursue more lucrative professions experienced a glass shortage as well as an ever decreasing interest in the wares they produce.

This current state of affairs has prompted the establishment of a daring initiative by GGRIL (Green Glass Recycling in Lebanon), aiming to redirect the ever increasing stockpile of discarded glass towards the glass blowing sector as well as coordinating a revival of the craft by setting up a network of retail avenues both locally and abroad. The initiative also plans to introduce the traditional craftsmen to innovative designs which are expected to appeal to a wide contemporary consumer base.

For now, GGRIL is collaborating with traditional glassblowers in Sarafand, south Lebanon.

Source: Facebook/ggrilebanon

In addition to decreasing the amount of glass that accumulates in landfills, the initiative also helps reduce the product which in its discarded state amounts to a fire hazard when thrown away in our forests.

Source: Facebook/ggrilebanon

GGRIL is expected to do much in the way of filling a hole in the local manufacturing sector that has been vacant for a long time. But to be able to achieve its goal, it’s gonna need your help. GGRIL is currently crowdfunding. For more details check out this video.

There is no doubt that an artisanal initiative cannot occupy the same space in the market as an industrial one, but it’s a good start. It shows that recycling can not only help preserve our environment, but it can preserve our heritage too.

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