According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) definition of Cleaner Production (CP), it is the continuous application of an integrated, preventive environmental strategy to processes, products and services to increase eco-efficiency and reduce risks to humans and the environment. It considers the entire life-cycle of the product, from the extraction of raw materials to the ultimate disposal of the product and by-products. CP is a pro-active approach to environmental management and pollution prevention. It reduces the negative impacts of the product by conserving raw materials and energy, eliminating hazardous materials and reducing the quantity and toxicity of emissions and waste.
Reduced raw material and energy consumption and hence cost;
Reduced waste generation and hence waste management costs;
Enhanced process efficiency;
Improved quality and increased lifespan of the product;
Improved working conditions and hence workers health and well-being; and
Improved public image of the company.
CP is not a new concept in the world; it has been around for over twenty years. However, it is a novelty concept and an emerging activity in Lebanon. There is no specific legislation on CP in Lebanon yet, but there are some general regulations governing the use of polluting substances in addition to voluntary regulation mechanisms of CP mainly in the formalisation of agreements between industrial companies and responsible authorities. The main import companies apply the voluntary regulation to increase their competition in the regional and international markets.