The DAWERR Innovation Challenge 2023 (IC23) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an exciting opportunity for innovators and entrepreneurs to showcase their solutions and existing Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) aimed at addressing two critical challenges in Solid Waste Management (SWM): Sorting at Source and Selective Collection.
Challenge 1: Sorting at Source.
Sorting at Source is a crucial aspect of SWM that requires people to separate their waste into organic waste, recyclables, and rejects. The challenge is to encourage people to adopt sorting at the source as a daily habit, and this is where innovative solutions are needed and must address sorting practices, behavior change, and scalability. The solutions should also facilitate practices by the waste generator, such as setting out the pre-sorted waste into three bins for selective collection or dropping off the pre-sorted recyclables and organic waste at designated drop-off or community composting kiosks.
The DAWERR IC23 challenge also calls for solutions that can change the fundamental aspect of SWM, which is people’s behavior. The solution should enable more effective Social Behavior Change (SBC) campaigns. It should facilitate more impact and a greater reach for every dollar spent on SBC campaigns. The aim is to increase the percentage of people who sort their waste at the source and have changed their behaviors compared to the pre-solution situation. Solutions that can scale up an existing successful SBC model to new areas or into a national level model are also encouraged.
Challenge 2: Selective Collection
Selective Collection is the second challenge in the DAWERR IC23. Solutions that target selective collection of pre-sorted waste should aim to amend and optimize existing solid waste collection operations to make them more cost and resource efficient. The solutions should adjust, upgrade, change, innovate or automate any or all aspects of the operations in a way that lowers risks and the impact of negative change. Solutions must demonstrate efficiency and effectiveness by optimizing resource utility, lowering costs, or delivering more results.
Another critical aspect of selective collection is to mobilize communities where people adopt a drop-off approach. Solutions must enable people to have options where they can drop off their pre-sorted solid waste at designated fixed or mobile locations. This should complement or replace existing collection schemes and routes. Where applicable, solutions must also guarantee the required changes in existing collection methods to accept source-separated waste.
The third aspect of selective collection that needs innovation is reducing the adverse impacts of the informal sector, also known as scavengers, in SWM, especially for recyclables. Solutions should propose approaches by local authorities to regulate or integrate scavengers in the proposed SWM system while maintaining acceptable profits for all stakeholders.
DAWERR: Diverting Waste By Encouraging Reuse And Recycling is a five-year activity funded by the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) that aims to improve the social, environmental, and economic well-being of Lebanese citizens by establishing sustainable solid waste recovery and diversion programs in collaboration with municipalities throughout rural areas in Lebanon.