Recycling Initiative of Karak municipality, Jordan
A small project in Karak is making a significant shift towards more sustainable waste management in Jordan.
Establishing a proper system for solid waste management has become a crucial issue for Jordan as waste quantities are increasing due to population growth, including the Syrian crisis that has resulted in 12,00 refugees fleeing to Jordan, industrial and agricultural progress and changes in consumption trends. Additional pressure has been created due to a lack of environmental awareness and limited environmental legislation in solid waste management.
Procedures and processes that precede a shift towards a comprehensive and sustainable waste management include several mandatory stages from planning necessary facilities and securing financial resources for their construction and operation, to regular performance monitoring.
To mitigate its negative impacts, state-of-the-art approaches to waste management focus on two main aspects:
- Reduction of solid waste generation at a source (as far across the supply chain as possible);
- Recycling and reuse of components of solid waste (glass, paper, metals, plastic etc.) including production of compost from organic waste.
Originally published by the International Community of Practice for Sustainable Urban Development CONNECTIVE CITIES: https://www.connective-cities.net/gute-praktiken-details/gutepraktik/recycling-initiative-of-karak-municipality-jordan/
Background and objectives
The City of Karak has a very significant location in Jordan and covers an area of 3,495 km2. The population of Karak Governorate is approximately 280,000 with 112,000 people living within Karak municipality district and 32,216 in Karak city. The Greater Karak municipality is the focal point of all development projects of the city and is responsible for many public services, including garbage collection and hygiene control for houses and public places. Recycling has been identified as an important step in conserving natural resources and reducing GHG emissions to support sustainable development. In turn, a decrease in waste volumes leads to a reduced need for fuel for garbage collection vehicles and helps mitigate impacts on the environment.
The Karak recycling project aims to:
- create job opportunities in collecting, processing and re-manufacturing the recycled waste.
- encourage business investors to start recycling businesses.
- raise awareness and educate the local community in waste separation and environment protection.
- capacity building and training for municipal workers, including field trips and workshops on state-of-the-art approaches to solid waste management.
In September 2015, the Karak recycling station opened and separate collections for three types of recyclables - paper, carton and plastic - was introduced. Prior to the opening, a project steering committee was established, comprised of representatives of partner organizations. The committee held meetings to define an operations mechanism for the recycling station as well as discuss legal, administrative and technical frameworks. Roles were defined for each partner according to their respective areas of expertise and authority.
- Karak municipality allocated a piece of land within the vocational zone, provided equipment and offices for the staff to implement the project. The municipality also set up a ventilation system and helped fulfil public safety requirements. Metal boxes were provided to collect carton from market places.
- To carry out the separation and recycling operations, Karak municipality appointed four workers that also received relevant training.
- The German Association for Adult Education contributed to the project by providing equipment such as hanger, compactor for carton and plastic, as well as a forklift.
- The German Cooperation Council supported setting up a metal umbrella to protect recyclables and organized study visits to similar facilities for technical and administrative staff.
- Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development supported the project through awareness-raising campaigns in schools and in the local community, informing people about the necessity of waste sorting and recycling.
Financing and resources
The lead agency for the project is the Karak municipality with support from, German Association for Adult Education, German Cooperation Council and Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development.
Results and impacts
The project reduces the workload of waste collection vehicles and labourers by reducing the amount of waste to be transferred to the landfill by approximately 730 tons per year. In addition, it saves two daily trips by four-ton garbage trucks to the landfill and has led to fuel savings.
The project has had a significant impact in terms of awareness raising in the local community resulting in a growing number of citizens using stations to dispose of cartons.
The project has achieved financial sustainability, as the feasibility study shows that financial returns on the station have covered its initial operating costs.
A local business investor was motivated by the project and has set up a plant for both recycling and re-use of carton (depending on the quantities supplied by the municipality). Consequently, this has contributed to creating job opportunities in the recycling sector.
Barriers and challenges
The Karak municipality governemnt is under pressure due to limited financial resources and continuously growing service demand. The Syrian crisis has resulted in a large number of refugees fleeing to Jordan, and the Karak municipality is currently hosting approximately 12,000 refugees, creating additional challenges in developing a comprehensive waste management system.
To date, waste collection and maintaining a clean environment remain a heavy burden for administrative and technical staff, as well as the municipal fleet of garbage vehicles, as 120 tons of waste collected daily should be transferred to the landfill site located 35 km from Karak.
Lessons learned and transferability
This project, however small it might seem, represents a success story for the Karak municipality and marks an important milestone in the city’s efforts to achieve sustainable development and apply an integrated approach to its waste management.
Among the major takeaways of the project, the following aspects are worth mentioning:
- benefits of these initiatives should be inclusive and available to all stakeholders to ensure sustainability of the project;
- encouragement of the private sector to participate in solid waste management is vital for effective collaboration for new economic opportunities and creation of additional economic value;
- incentives and facilitation are important tools for encouraging those who contribute to waste reduction, recycling and composting;
- awareness-raising and information campaigns that showcase best practices in solid waste management and are carried out in both public and private media, are necessary elements in preparing the local community to new and alternative forms of waste management.
When it comes to future opportunities for the recycling station, its development must be examined in two areas:
1) Transformation towards quantitative production (more quantities means less costs) by providing a new compaction vehicle for carton and plastics, as well as involving nearby municipalities into supply of recyclables. This should improve economic feasibility of the recycling station.
2) Qualitative development should take place (i.e. extending the station operation with new types of products) to ensure effective use of the already available infrastructure.
- Recycling Initiative of Karak Municipality, Jordan | Small project marking a shift towards more sustainable waste management, Connective Cities: https://www.connective-cities.net/gute-praktiken-details/gutepraktik/recycling-initiative-of-karak-municipality-jordan/