The Business Year

Basharat Ali Tanwar

CEO, Nesma Recycling

Jeroen Vincent

CEO, Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC)

Developing first-class recycling facilities and a mentality of conservation are two of the biggest challenges—and opportunities—facing the Kingdom.

What role do you play in the Saudi ecosystem?

BASHARAT ALI TANWAR By looking at the Saudi market, government reforms, and Vision 2030 offer a clear indication that recycling and environmental sustainability are two of the core areas of focus. In the future, we expect to see further regularization, which will pose a question on the role that companies like Nesma Recycling will play, as more companies adopt individual sustainable practices to comply with the law. Nonetheless, established companies that have aligned themselves with the government will have an opportunity to work more and tap into a wide array of opportunities and market potential. Thus far, we have maintained a focus on industrial waste, where paper makes around 25% of revenues, plastic around 30%, and scrap metals around 45%. Municipal waste and infrastructure development are a relatively untouched area the government might get involved with through the establishment of the Public Investment Fund (PIF)-owned SIRC. It is early to say whether new contracts will open for bidding or not; however, this is definitely an industry with a clear growth track.

JEROEN VINCENT A prime example of this is the MoU we recently signed with the National Waste Management Center and the Riyadh Municipality, which aims to start recycling activities as part of the city’s overall waste management strategy to achieve the government’s national recycling targets. Within this, SIRC’s role is to develop the waste management sector and in particular Riyadh’s recycling capacity. The prerequisite for an efficient recycling infrastructure is the existence of source segregation. Since Riyadh was the first Amanah to start the roll out of source segregation with a 2-bin door-to-door system, SIRC preferred to start building its recycling facilities. As part of an integrated waste management system, SIRC will build Riyadh’s state-of-the-art recycling facilities for all types of waste. This will include recycling of municipal waste into recyclables such as fertilizer, paper, plastics, and metals.

What does the sector’s future look like?

BAT Saudi Arabia is the largest plastic-producing country in the world, as plastic is a byproduct of crude. Now with technological upgrades and stronger focus from the government, a clear direction is being followed to implement the best recycling methods in the country. The first step is standardization, which is why Saudi Arabia’s public and private sectors seek to establish partnerships with the Bureau of International Recycling, the Bureau of Middle East Recycling, the Metal Recycling Association of India, and China’s recycling association. These exchanges of best practices and methodologies clearly indicate that in developed countries, waste and recycling are priorities, and developing countries have a long way to go. The best way to fill the gap should be a mix of incentives, like subsidies and accreditation points, and taxes for non-compliance. This way, all players in the spectrum will see the value of adopting sustainable practices.

JV Saudi Arabia has been witnessing rapid industrialization, high population growth rate, and fast urbanization that have resulted in increased levels of pollution and waste. Waste management is becoming a bigger challenge for the government and local bodies with each passing day. A sustainable economy can’t live without an efficient ecology system. Responding to this growing issue, the PIF established the SIRC in 2017 as part of its sector development strategy next to the sector initiatives of developing the local defense (SAMI) and entertainment industry (Seven). As a sector development initiative, SIRC will invest, develop, own, and operate in various activities across the Kingdom, including cutting-edge treatment and recycling facilities and waste-to-energy solutions that will support the National Renewable Energy Program. As part of our business strategy, we signed an MoU with Riyadh to start executing our municipal waste strategy. With our first major investment in GEMS, we already have an excellent platform to serve the industry by recycling complex waste streams from oil, petrochemical, and mining industries.

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