Tell us about The Waste Lab
The Waste Lab is a women-owned, Dubai-based, impact-driven startup that aims to create an opportunity for every food scrap to become a solution rather than a burden on our society and environment.
By offering an interactive, tech- and data-enabled platform, offering simple, practical, customized solutions, and rewarding eco-friendly behavior, we will build a community of individuals and establishments that understands and practices proper organic waste sorting at source and disposal which, in turn, will be used to create healthy compost and other byproducts that benefit our local soil, local farms, local food, and local jobs.
A little bit about the Founder/story of how you started out
Lara Hussein is the co-founder of The Waste Lab. She has 15 years of international experience developing tech-enabled solutions, loyalty programs, CRM and customer outreach programs across multiple industries.
Together, with her co-founder, Ceylan Üren, who is a worldly architect and lighting designer, they have understood that the only way to live a positive, healthy and balanced life is by forming a harmonious relationship with nature and by regenerating the very foundation of its and our existence: the soil.
Why sort organic waste?
The amount of food waste generated in the UAE is among the highest in the world. In most cases, this ends up in landfills (3.27 million tons annually), causing detrimental environmental, economic and health problems, such as emitting GHG (Methane & CO2), toxins (polluting water, air and soil), and leachates (polluting water and soil). Apart from the financial costs, food buried in landfill breaks down at a very slow rate and releases undesirable and dangerous gases that add to climate change!
What sets ‘The Waste Lab’ apart?
The Waste Lab is offering simple, streamlined solutions for individuals and establishments to sort, reduce, repurpose, and recycle/compost their organic waste. There is no space or effort requirement from an individual or organization, and they will determine the level of participation they are comfortable with. Subscribers receive the necessary guidance to sort their food scraps and a door-to-door pickup service which is currently unavailable for organic waste.
They will also be close to the process in terms of what actually happens to their organic waste once it leaves their spaces. The Waste Lab provides impact reports to track the positive impact they are contributing to such as climate change mitigation, workshops to learn how to live sustainably and grow superfood from healthy compost, and benefits and rewards that support other eco-friendly partners.
As a new company, where do you aspire to be in 5 years?
Our mission is to create an opportunity for every food scrap to become a solution rather than a burden on our society and environment. We will build a community, of individuals and establishments, that rescues, repurposes and returns food scraps, as compost, to feed, enrich and heal the soil for the health of our planet and its inhabitants.
If successful, the soil will be more fertile and will be able to regenerate itself with the organic matter that is returned to it. The soil will grow healthy crops that will not need to be labeled as “organic” because nature has been taking care of the process without any interference or damage from synthetic chemicals. As a result, nutrients will be available to everyone and not just to those who can afford or access them.
Biodiversity of micro- and macro-organisms will be restored from the soil up. The surroundings will be greener and immune to parasites and pandemics that are harmful to nature and humans.
The connection between nature and individuals will be stronger, because we will understand that for our survival, we will need to take care of and reserve its resources. We will aim to live in Agrihood communities where everything is produced, consumed and brought back to the community.
Finally, the healthy soil will make our lands persistent to drought and extreme temperatures (thanks to increased water holding and aeration capacity), and will capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide. Landfills containing organic residuals and emitting GHG will diminish significantly.