Engineer and environmental activist Ziad Abichaker replaces missing manhole covers on Lebanon's streets -- for free -- with new ones made from recycled plastic beams. Desperate citizens have stolen hundreds of cast iron covers and sold them for their scrap value. Abichaker, the ‘Garbage King of Beirut’, sees waste as an untapped resource and has been working to achieve zero waste going to landfills. “Go try to tell someone in charge ... [that] we can take potato chip bags and make manhole covers out of them,” he says. “They will tell you that this is crazy, but we proved it.” The new covers are made to fit the frames in the road surfaces, using locally-built machines to mix different types of single-use plastics. It shows that proper waste management can have social, economic, and financial benefits, he says. “This has been my approach with the government for the last 20 years; just showing them what can be done. They were not ready then. I hope that they are ready now. It's not rocket science.”

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