Turning Waste into Wealth

By Bandar AlSulaimani, Project Associate Director at The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC)

We recently opened our sustainable waste management facility, a project led by international waste and recycling company, Averda. The facility is designed to handle all forms of waste generated during the construction of ‘Phase One’ of The Red Sea Project, processing it in a manner that meets our ambitious company goal of ‘zero waste to landfill’. 

All forms of waste generated by this ambitious, prestigious giga-project have been considered in the design of the waste management system.

Yet even before establishing this important element of the Project, we had assigned recyclable containers and dedicated storage areas for each of our contractors to collect their tonnes of rubble, rock and concrete generated by the construction of the foundations, buildings, and infrastructure of the development. We knew these elements would be treatable later by the planned special machinery incorporated in waste management center, which can transform them into smaller particles to be reused elsewhere.

In addition, the workforce employed to construct this ambitious project are living on-site across our Basecamp and the Construction Village residential complex. These employees create all the same varieties of household waste as you would expect in a normal home. Most of the residual waste such as the organic, recyclables, and all other waste types are being baled and transferred to Al Wajh Municipality to be treated and made into new products. 

Here, nothing is being wasted. We are either recycling waste for our own use on the construction of the project, or we give or sell the waste to other entities. We also leverage the relevant waste outputs to support our effort to improve local ecosystems. 

In such areas where high temperatures and direct sun exposure cause high rates of evaporation, and soil is often thin and infertile because of low organic content. Our food and organic waste will enter into a composter at the waste management facility, and mixed with wood waste components, to provide nutrient-rich material. This will then be utilized at our million-square meter landscape nursery to help improve the soil quality. The Nursery is one of the largest in the region and will provide more than 15 million plants required to landscape the destination.

In regard to the construction demolition waste which includes concrete, gravel, steel, aluminum, plastics, electrical cables, and plumbing material, we send piles into the crusher, once the crushing process is complete, the crushed material is then sorted through the Construction demolition sorting line, the sorting line segregates the aggregates into 3 different sizes automatically, while having manual picking stations to pick up the various waste and segregate per type into skips placed in bunkers under the sorting line. These are then being reused for other purposes, such as aggregate for building roads.

For waste components which are non-recyclable, non-compostable materials that cannot be reused elsewhere, we will use an incinerator to burn the waste to create ash. This product can then be utilized in the manufacture of bricks and green concrete for use across the destination. This machine also comes with a filter to ensure minimal CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere. 

I’m proud that as a business we recycle and reuse almost every piece of waste created on-site, with the only exceptions being hazardous and medical waste as per Saudi law. Instead, these forms of waste are sent to specialist companies for treatment. Moreover, this waste management system creates a new benchmark for largescale development projects in the Gulf region and globally, contributing to our ambition to set new standards in sustainable development.