DAWERR Ideathon: Solving Solid Waste Challenges

Posted on August 10, 2021

The DAWERR Ideathon was an exciting opportunity allowing young entrepreneurs and startups to develop innovative solid waste management solutions around the three pillars Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.”

DAWERR Ideathon All participants 1200 x 628

Eco-Friendly Concrete, Eco Match, and LU Environment, won the first edition of the DAWERR Ideathon focusing on municipal Solid Waste Management. The ideathon was organized by Berytech for the Diverting Waste by Encouraging Reuse and Recycling (DAWERR) activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by ECODIT.

Meet the winners

LU Environment is working on making biochar from organic waste by pyrolysis which will be used as fertilizer to reduce the production costs for agriculture, Eco-Friendly Concrete focuses on partial replacement of concrete constituents with recycled materials, while Eco Match is developing a platform for materials to promote a circular economy by turning the waste of some into resources for others.

The three winners will receive an in-kind grant of up to $6,500 each to be spent on their startup, as well as 2-month incubation at Berytech, to make sure they receive the business and technical assistance they need to validate their business idea and develop their Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Joseph Karam, President at ECODIT and member of the final selection jury stated: “The presentations were great. Fascinating ideas across the board! We placed a premium on to which extend your idea will help DAWERR in terms of improving waste management in the country, municipal waste management is our focus and especially diverting waste away from the stream that ends up putting the waste in a dump or landfill.”

In addition to Joseph Karam, Ramy Boujawdeh, Deputy General Manager at Berytech, and Yasmin Fansa, MENA Sustainability Lead at PepsiCo, joined the final jury to select the top three winners. Yasmin Fansa shared: “I was very inspired by all the different ideas that were presented today. All these innovative solutions help move the needle in terms of getting things where they need to be in terms of a circular economy.”

Ideathon Participants 

Over 300 applications were submitted to join the DAWERR Ideathon, out of which 20 teams were selected to join this five-day event and nine teams were nominated to pitch and get the chance to be selected among the top three winners.

Here are the remaining six teams who pitched with the winners in the finals:

  1. Cloud Pads, a social enterprise that produces affordable, hypoallergenic, organic, and biodegradable sanitary pads made from banana fibers to combat period poverty.
  2. Wasted, a project that converts Polycarbonate (PC), Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), and High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) found in E-Waste into Construction Tiles and Bricks.
  3. Engineer Industry, a project that recycles paper and cartons into new usable products (carton cup holder, carton bags, paper…).
  4. GR, a project that collects and recycles used cigarette butts in Beirut.
  5. Pads 4 All, a project that provides sustainable, socially responsible, and human-centered solutions for period poverty through eco-effective reusable sanitary products designed to send a message of confidence and empowerment to women.
  6. PTF, a project that turns plastic pollution into a solution, by transforming plastic waste into byproducts that can help the fuel shortage crisis.

The Ideathon 

The DAWERR Ideathon was an exciting opportunity allowing young entrepreneurs and startups to develop innovative solid waste management solutions around the three pillars Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, to solve real problems and challenges being faced in rural communities. Entrepreneurs, professionals, and experts from different backgrounds are allowed to learn, experiment, and build their green solutions.

The eight core challenges revolved around: Sorting at Source, Marketing recycled products – or Eco-marketing, non-degradable waste, Secondary Sorting, Single-use products, Community-Driven Solid Waste Management Solutions, Collection of waste, or refurbishing and reselling.

The ideas provided had the potential to play a role in contributing to helping municipalities divert a significant portion of the Municipal Solid Waste stream away from landfills and create viable local or regional composting value chains.

During the ideathon, and over five consecutive days, participants received business workshops to learn how to transform their ideas into valid business solutions. The teams also received 1-on-1 clinics with field and business experts before presenting their pitch to the jury.

The team of Eco-Friendly Concrete highlighted the importance of the ideathon stating that “We have acquired new knowledge to apply in our startup such as how to market products, how to enter the market, check for the demand, and check for feasibility studies. It was a great learning experience”.

Read more about DAWERR Activity: https://berytech.org/programs/dawerr/