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Saudi Investment Recycling Company and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste Join Forces to Advance Plastic Waste Management in Saudi Arabia
December 2, 2023

Dubai, 2 December 2023: In a major step towards addressing plastic waste in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (the “Alliance”) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This partnership is in strategic alignment with KSA’s vision to achieve a 94 percent landfill diversion by 2035 and to establish a robust Saudi circular economy. The focus of this collaboration is to explore effective waste management solutions in KSA, particularly targeting the challenges posed by municipal solid waste (MSW) and specifically plastics. The aim is to implement optimal solutions across the entire value chain, including the collection, sorting, and recycling of plastic waste.

Globally, plastic waste generation has soared to approximately 360 million tons annually, with a significant portion either ending up in landfills or leaking into the environment. The situation in KSA mirrors this global challenge, with MSW amounting to around 17 million tons per year, 20 percent of which is plastic. Unfortunately, only 5 percent of plastic waste is currently recycled, leading to a substantial loss of valuable materials and a missed opportunity in recycling.

The MoU was officially signed on 2 December 2023, in Dubai. Attended by Ziyad Al Shiha, CEO of SIRC and Justin Wood, VP and Head of EMEA at the Alliance, the official announcement took place during the “Closing the Loop – Pathway to the Circular Economy” panel at COP28. There, SIRC representatives highlighted the importance of this collaboration in enabling effective waste management solutions in KSA. Justin Wood presented a tangible project concept, marking a significant step forward in this partnership.

Commenting on the collaboration, Ziyad Al-Shiha, CEO of SIRC, said, “Our collaboration with the Alliance is a testament to our commitment to advancing sustainable waste management practices and embracing the principles of a circular economy. Our goal is to tap into the best global practices and exchange insights within the extensive network offered by the Alliance, marking a significant step in our journey towards environmental sustainability in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

Under this partnership, SIRC will serve as the local partner, utilising its extensive knowledge of the local landscape and capabilities to spearhead initiatives within Saudi Arabia. As the project enabler, the Alliance will share technical counsel and key learnings from its portfolio of more than 50 projects across 30 countries worldwide. “We are excited to collaborate with SIRC on waste management solutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At the Alliance, we believe in the essential role of partnerships in tackling global environmental advancements. By leveraging our global expertise and network, we aim to support Saudi Arabia, through SIRC, to transform its approach to plastic waste, driving innovation and sustainability,” said Jacob Duer, President and CEO at the Alliance.

“This initiative is not just about managing waste more effectively; it's about rethinking and reshaping the future of waste management in the Kingdom and setting a global benchmark in sustainability practices,” said Hani Tohme, Managing Partner at Roland Berger Middle East. “By combining SIRC's local insights, ambition, and pursuit for excellence, with AEPW’s global experience, we aim to develop and implement scalable solutions that can make a real difference in Saudi Arabia and serve as a model for other regions around the world. Roland Berger will enable this partnership by providing the required insights and support to maximise the feasibility of expected investments," he added.