Waste management in Bahrain und Saudi-Arabien

Saudi Arabia

Establishment of a circular economy

Renewable energy sources are an important part of the planned establishment of a circular economy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Among other things, the waste management sector plays a key role in achieving set goals.

Development targets

The following targets have been set for the development of the circular economy:

  1. 81 percent of municipal waste is to be recycled and up to 19 percent incinerated in waste-to-energy (WtE) plants;
  2. 60 percent of construction waste is to be recycled; and
  3. 85 percent of industrial hazardous waste is to be recycled or reprocessed.

Collaboration with international recycling companies

Riyadh alone currently generates approximately 3.8m tons of municipal waste annually, and the amount could double by 2035. Presently, over 95 percent of Riyadh's municipal waste is sent to landfills. Vision 2030 aims to reduce this figure to 0% by 2025 and instead establish a circular system.

The Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC), as a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is expected to achieve this goal in collaboration with international recycling companies. SIRC is looking for international partners to build such a circular waste system for Riyadh.

Agricultural sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Moreover, Saudi Arabia has a large agricultural sector that contributes SAR 53 billion to the GDP each year. It focuses on increasing efficiency as part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030.

Currently, agricultural waste is generally not recycled, resulting in the loss of significant amounts of potential energy generation. In addition, the disposal of untreated waste causes damage to the environment and businesses incur costs for unnecessary storage.

Megaprojects initiated under Vision 2030, such as the Red Sea Project, Amaala and Neom, plan to invest in sustainable and innovative infrastructure solutions, including waste, and thus are potential cooperation partners. The large company Aramco also expresses great interest in innovative solutions for waste reduction.


As part of its Vision 2030, neighboring Bahrain also committed to reducing the country's dependency on oil and investing in renewable energies (solar energy, wind energy, wastewater and bioenergy from biowaste) back in 2008.

While several pilot projects have already started in 2014, mainly in solar and wind energy, there is great need for technologies on sustainable biogenic residual and waste management

  • According to the Ministry of Labor, Urban Planning and Municipalities in Bahrain, more than 1.7 million tons of waste are generated each year which could be used to generate electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions instead of being landfilled.
  • Organic material, most of which is food waste, accounts for 60% of total municipal waste. All municipal waste in Bahrain currently ends up in the Asker landfill.