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Economic meltdown drives some Lebanese to collect recyclables for a living

Lebanon’s increasing poverty and lack of jobs drive desperate people to live off of selling collected recycled materials in kilos to scrapyards, shops and manufacturers.
A man sorts through discarded electric devices at a scrap workshop in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli on June 3, 2020.

Since the economic crisis began in Lebanon in 2019, collecting plastic, cardboard, iron and anything suitable for recycling and remanufacturing has become a common profession in areas like Tripoli, Bekaa, Saida and Beirut.

Inflated prices of imported materials mean that manufacturers and buyers are constantly looking for raw materials on the domestic market, as it saves them dollars since they do not have to pay for imported goods that are priced under the black market rate. This allows them to raise their profits as products sold in the domestic market are cheaper than imported products that often require payments in cash dollars.

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