Making demolition waste into aggregates for a major residential housing project has become a reality in Saudi Arabia.  Work on a new recycling facility is about to start at the end of the year.   This innovative project is being managed by the Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC).  The company is a subsidiary of the government’s sovereign wealth fund.  Other projects in the pipeline include  a new sorting facility for solid municipal waste.

Established in 2017, the SIRC is the first organisation of its kind in the kingdom and will be a key driver of the circular economy.  Ambitious targets have been set with a goal of 81% recycling.  Consequently , if achieved, this would put the kingdom into the highest recycling achievers globally.  Furthermore, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are currently ranging between 54% and 68% recycling.

Legislation important

In contrast Saudi Arabia’s current recycling rate is only 10% of recyclable materials.  To lift the recycling rate the Saudis are looking at a combination of  legislation, and enforcement strategies. They have considered carefully the strategies followed in Western Europe.  Above all they know that their recycling efforts will fail if they do not implement policies that engage with the public.

The SIRC executive appear to understand the role education and awareness will play in changing the behaviour of the general population.  People believing they are making a difference to the environment is fundamental to the success of any recycling program.  Almost certainly the right campaign will motivate and bring people together, with  both the  private and government sectors.

The topic of recycling continues to dominate newspaper headlines in Australia. In the latest published data for 2016–17 the national plastics recycling rate was 11.8 per cent. With the 2018 ban by China on exports of waste, strategies for improvement in recycling waste to reduce landfill are well advanced.  Recycal has long been a proponent that local councils need to ensure that their suppliers meet stringent tests in terms of process, equipment and capacity.  As a result of the huge increases in stockpiled material caused by the China ban, more material will sadly go into landfill.


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