Lebanon: CLIMA projects brings municipality of Bourj Hammoud one step closer to zero waste, through the social startup ReFuse


ReFuse is a social enterprise that runs recyclable collection points, sells recyclables to industries, and rewards those who contributed with their sorted waste. The start-up, launched in December 2021, inaugurated its second Recyclables Collection Point in Bourj Hammoud, a densely populated community, where waste hazards represent a key priority since years.


Thanks to the support received among several initiatives including CLIMA project sub-granting scheme, ReFuse regularly serves a community of over 5000 people from different backgrounds and nationalities and 50 small enterprises. Women are the more assiduous recyclers at ReFuse collection points, representing the 67% of the users involved.
ReFuse is planning its scale-up, identifying ways for expanding its current business model in new locations as well as diversifying its activities.



The company started from the need to find ways to engage people in sorting at source and create a shared value for these resources. Waste is generally perceived as a costly problem, but the team wanted to prove that it can be the opposite. In Lebanon the recycling industry has always struggled to actively engage the community, particularly in high populated and underserved neighbourhoods. Therefore, ReFuse started from Naba’a, Bourj Hammoud. The idea came from far, while Guglielmo and Ali, two of its co-founders, were working on humanitarian projects in Lebanon, trying to find effective ways to manage a multifaceted problem. 

ReFuse is a social enterprise that prioritises impact, rather than profit. Operations are therefore meant to be covered by the value of waste, which is always shared with the community. Part of this value goes to the community, while another part covers running expenses. The cash reward is just the tip; the real benefit is a reduction in health hazards for people close to urban/rural dumpsites, but also the creation of jobs and the promotion of a culture of care for their own neighbourhood. ReFuse aims to become permanent, building a business on the positive daily habit of the community - which incredibly shifted from zero sorting to collecting more than 15 types of materials and sorting them on the spot! 


In 2022, ReFuse was able to expand, opening a second Recyclables Collection Point in the Bourj Hammoud neighborhood. This was also possible thanks to the CLIMA project and the grant set up in its framework for green initiatives all over Lebanon. With the contribution received, ReFuse was able to expand its team, employing two new female operators for the new collection point, purchase electrical equipment and a hydraulic vertical press to compact the materials sorted and collected, as well as renovate their second Recyclables Collection Point by painting and cladding its new spaces.

It is well known that waste mismanagement is one of the biggest issues in Lebanon, and that the waste crisis has been ongoing since 2015. People are starting to get used to seeing the open dumps neglecting the fact that garbage causes health threats. With ReFuse people can take part in the solution by managing their own waste, protecting their health and the health of their families, and at the same time having an income from it.