How Live Love Recycle came to be
Lebanon is dealing with a waste catastrophe. In 2015, images of our country covered with trash bags were blasted all over the world. We were angry, sad, and ashamed to see our streets, rivers, seas, mountains and valleys filled with piles of untreated garbage.
Instead of building sustainable solutions to address the crisis, our government defaulted to 'a quick fix' by adding new landfills. This is causing deadly threats to our environment and public health.
Another important piece of the puzzle: Lebanon has welcomed the most refugees per capita in the world. About 1 in 3 people here is a refugee. Most, without jobs. Currently, the overall unemployment rate in Lebanon is 24%, with youth unemployment exceeding 35%.
Our idea was simple: to build a zero-emission recycling collection service, while employing people below the poverty line, both refugees and Lebanese.
An app where, with just a few taps, citizens can request a pick-up for their recyclables. A driver on an e-bike will be at their door within 30 minutes to collect the bags and drop them at local recycling centers.
Three years after developing our idea and searching for funds, we received a grant (in 2018, from BMZ, through the World Food Programme) to build a prototype and test it out over 1 year. During this time, we kept Live Love Recycle as a free service per the conditions of the grants. By the end of the year we had reached 3,500 households and recycled 30 tons of waste. That's 30 tons of waste saved from being dumped in the landfills, which then end up in the Mediterranean sea.
So why are we launching a Kickstarter?
The funding cycle from the grants is over, which leads us to the last phase of our project: making Live Love Recycle an entirely self-sustainable social enterprise. This is the final push so that Live Love Recycle can continue operating for years to come!
While the grant was instrumental in helping us launch, our project cannot depend on grants. Becoming self-sustainable allows us to be more flexible about organizing and managing our budget while focusing more on how we can improve and develop new innovative products and technology so we operate more efficiently.
This Kickstarter campaign will help us transition to the next phase of Live Love Recycle. With the funds from this campaign, we’ll be able to code our new technology and create a brand new collection system that will make us operate more efficiently, based on the lessons we learned. The new version of the app will enable us to accept monthly memberships and automate the pick ups per household or business. We also came up with a new extra light bags storage system for our drivers, so they can store more waste much more comfortably on their bikes. We're also decentralizing our drop-off centers to new innovative bins we created that we want to place all around the city, instead of having one warehouse for all drop-off's. We are developing a new awareness campaign for recycling made up of movies and infographics, that will air on @livelovebeirut teaching people how to sort at home and why they should recycle, so we can convert more citizens to recycling and change their behaviors.
We’ve learned from our user feedback surveys that our users are willing to pay for our service, but we will need reach 5000 households in order to operate sustainably. We are close! We’ve already reached 3,500 households.
How you can help us save the environment & the Mediterranean sea, while creating jobs for those in need
With every $3 you donate, you will fund 1 free collection in Beirut. You'll be saving 5kg of waste from being dumped in the sea!
With every $25 you donate, you will fund 10 free collection and you'll save 50kg of waste!
If we reach our goal, $50K, we can save 100T of waste from ending up in our beloved Mediterranean sea.
What we've learned so far and how we will improve our efficiency
After conducting a user feedback survey, we have found that
- Over 90% of our users will keep on using our application for recycling.
- More than half of our users say two requests a month, two bags per pick-up are enough for their needs.
- 75% of our users are willing to pay for our service.
- Over 50% are willing to pay up to 3 USD for every single pick-up therefore we will adapt this price as a reference.
Our collected recyclables are of very good quality which will allow us to eventually sell them to recycling facilities and help us reduce the price of our service. We are planning to start charging 3 USD/request for the household collection service. We will need an extra 3,000 requests per month in order for us to break-even. By the end of 2019 we are hoping to launch our B2B service, running ads on our app and selling the recyclables. We are looking into the possibility of having our own sorting facility to generate more money out of selling the collected recyclables.
Our prototype got some buzz in the press and we can't wait to make more noise with Live Love Recycle v 2.0!
We had journalists, environmental experts and students from all over the globe coming to our warehouse to get more insight on what we do and how we work. Our initiative has been chosen by Sparknews through L'Orient Le Jour to take part of the Impact Journalism day on the 18th of June 2018, during which 55 major publications around the world shed a light on positive initiatives that change the world.
Risks and challenges
We are currently operating as an NGO in Lebanon. Our aim is to develop Live Love Recycle as a self sustainable social enterprise. In order to become self-sustainable we must increase the number of requests to 5,000 requests a month and we need to develop our new technology and pick up system to operate more efficiently. The number of requests we are getting might drop once we start charging customers per pick-up, therefore we will need to work on a big marketing campaign to grow our user base and retain enough users for Live Love Recycle to be fully sustainable.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Environmental commitmentsVisit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.
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