Production of renewable energy with waste in Jordan
Through this good practice, FAO is generating renewable energy through adoption of sustainable “waste to energy” and “waste to compost” labour intensive processes. This aims at a triple wins of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the costs of solid and liquid waste disposal in Zaatari municipality and Zaatari Refugees camp and generating green job opportunities.
- Rodrigue Vinet-Senior Advisor Programme Development & Humanitarian Affairs, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- Sally James-Forced Migration and Protracted Crisis Specialist, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Introduction to the project
It will be renewed.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) composting project in Zaatari refugee camps fulfils the first two objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees: ease pressures on host countries and enhance refugee self-reliance. Jordan has been severely impacted by the Syria crisis, particularly by the huge flow of refugees across the borders. This increase in population has placed critical pressure on the ability of the social, economic, institutional and natural resources systems. The surge in population has also put enormous pressure on infrastructures and municipal services. For example: the daily amount of solid waste generated in Zaatari municipality has increased; an already strained energy uptake has been outstretched; demand for potable and household-use water has rocketed and general unemployment rates have risen.
Addressing the Syrian refugee crisis in a place like Zaatari therefore needs a holistic and comprehensive approach. It must address some of Jordan’s pre-existing labor market challenges as well as the rights of Syrian refugees to a livelihood that allows them to live in dignity. FAO’s good practice is generating renewable energy through adoption of sustainable “waste to energy” and “waste to compost” labour intensive processes. This aims at a triple wins of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the costs of solid and liquid waste disposal in Zaatari municipality and Zaatari Refugees camp and generating green job opportunities.
As well as improving their environment, the project therefore provided a much-needed means of income and sense of purpose for participating camp residents. It is essential to support longer-term job opportunities for refugees who live in Za’atari camp. This ensures that refugees can lift themselves out of poverty and become more self-reliant.
In 2016, FAO and EU co-funded a project to join WASH Sector players in Zaatari to pilot activities, which could harness resources along the waste value chain, and create green jobs within an intense humanitarian operation. The project embarked on a lobbying campaign for an integrated solid waste management (ISWM) in the camp and invested in ISWM hierarchy item 4 (Waste minimization and recovery of energy from waste by composting and anaerobic/biogas).
The project aims at enhancing the potential economic growth of the local economy of Mafraq Governorate and more precisely of Zaatari municipality. This could be done through an innovative intervention that promotes private sector enterprise development and stimulates decent green-jobs creation in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Firstly, FAO and the National Agricultural Research Center carried out a study on the effects of using bio-solid compost on plant growth of forest trees, rangeland plants and forage crops, forest vegetation in nurseries, soil properties and its effect on environment.
Secondly, field tests on use of the organic waste (compost) to improve productivity in dry and saline rangelands were conducted.
Resources used were:
- Material - To produce compost for the later activity, the project established a 16 tons capacity Material Recovery Facility where waste generated inside Zaatari Camp is sorted.
- Training - 89 (43F & 46M) Syrian refugees trained on waste sorting, especially on how to extract organic matter.
- After the introductory training, 24 (14F & 10M) of the trainees were selected for further training and employed under the green-jobs initiative.
- For the valorization of the extracted organic waste, the project has trained the 24 green-workers on best practices in composting.
- Resource partner – The European Union co-funded a project to join WASH Sector players in Zaatari.
- Key partner- The National Agricultural Research Center
Challenges and how they were overcome
Zaatari Refugee Camp in Northern Jordan is the 7th largest refugee camp globally and hosts around 80,000 people. The surge in population has also put enormous pressure on the infrastructure and municipal services. This new population generates 34 MT of solid/wet waste, which is collected and trucked out of the camp daily. Approximately 4 MT of recyclable materials are picked from the waste at HH level and prepared for sale by an NGO. The rest of the waste comprises 30% and 50% organic matter in winter and summer months respectively. Furthermore, 2,500m3 of wastewater is treated at the Zaatari wastewater treatment plant daily and 150-200m3 of sludge trucked out the camp. The large tonnage of waste generated daily at Zaatari Camp and its transfer to external landfills exerts enormous pressure on infrastructures, municipal services and the environment, not to mention the monetary costs.
FAO turned waste management into an opportunity to address pressing social, environmental and economic needs. The development of a 16 tons capacity Material Recovery Facility reduces the pressures on the municipal services. This good practice aims to generate renewable energy through the adoption of sustainable “waste to energy” and “waste to compost” to reduce the large tonnage of waste generated daily at Zaatari Camp and its transfer to external landfills.
Results of the Good Practice
- Green jobs: 89 people (43F & 46M) Syrian refugees trained on waste sorting. After the introductory training, 24 people (14 F& 10 M) of the trainees were selected for further training.
- Establishes an income stream for the facility and sustained Green-Job.
- For the valorization of the extracted organic waste, the project trained 24 green-workers on best practices in composting.
- This enclosed and sanitary environment offers a safe workplace for women.
- Reduce waste by around 50%.
- Reduce the cost of trucking to landfill.
- Reduce CH4 from landfills & CO2 emission from diesel driven waste dump trucks.