Solid Waste Management in Refugee Camps

This project enables refugees to earn money by collecting recyclable waste and helps improve hygienic conditions for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

The waste management project delivers tailored awareness sessions to the communities in refugee camps in the Bekaa region in Lebanon on how to sort waste at the source, recycle, and compost organic waste for agricultural purposes. The project facilitates efficient collection, sorting, and selling of waste to companies, while creating economic opportunities and improved living conditions for refugees. As recyclable waste makes up 20% of the total waste generated by the region’s refugee camps, selling this waste can help improve the livelihoods of refugee camp residents.

Arcenciel initiates the waste management projects in the camps, and, after proven successful and self-sustaining, the projects are continued by the camp communities, with the refugees alone carrying on with the established waste management systems. Because of the lessons learned from these projects, arcenciel has been able to develop and produce a set of guidelines for various UN agencies dedicated to waste management in refugee camps, which will be utilized in camps across Lebanon.

Relevance of solution

Refugees spend an average of 17 years in overcrowded camps.1 This stresses the importance of adequate living standards and sustainable infrastructure. By raising awareness, capacity building, and providing simple equipment like collection bins, this project has proven successful in developing small-scale models for solving waste management challenges and providing refugees with a source of income.

Triple Bottom Line


The project is helping to collect, recycle, and treat waste, much of which would otherwise remain in the camps and emit toxic gases.


Proper waste management is critical in preserving refugees’ health and well-being.


Turning recyclable waste into a resource provides economic opportunities to refugees, and could improve livelihoods for many refugees now and in the future.


  1. UNHCR. “The State of The World’s Refugees”. (2006)