At, we generally focus on resource input reductions rather than resource recovery or pollution and waste prevention for several reasons:
  • Recycling and waste reduction efforts are widely reported elsewhere.
  • Recycling often makes resource waste more economical. A variety of businesses and public entities become dependent on maintaining a flow of resource wastes in order to survive.
  • Ultimately, the only way to dramatically reduce waste is to reduce resource use in the first place.

Yet there is no question that using resources mined above grade uses significantly fewer resources than manufacturing products with virgin resources. And once in awhile a project comes along that is so outstanding it merits our attention. For example, Cedar Environmental of Lebanon, founded and headed by Ziad Abichaker, developed Eco-Prefab 1.0, an extraordinary prefabricated house constructed with 100 percent recycled materials.

I met Ziad last year when we were co-presenters at the Eco Meda conference on waste management in Barcelona.  Ziad has been building the social enterprise Cedar Environmental by engaging the citizens of many small Lebanese communities in resource recovery. No such efforts have ever been undertaken in these communities, and there is little or no waste management or industrial infrastructure to support such an enterprise. Yet he and his colleagues are creating a viable and growing business based on a commitment to the environment. Moreover, they’re transforming resources into products that meet the needs of the citizens of those communities. Ziad, an engineer, is designing the technology for an entire local resource ecosystem.