SIRCLES in Jordan: the composting facility in Aqaba is now operational


Aqaba is a Jordanian coastal city situated on the Red Sea, located in the southern part of Jordan. The city is surrounded by vast mountains, white sandy beaches, and year-round warm weather, making it one of Jordan's major tourist attractions. As part of SIRCLES project, Aqaba is currently operating a composting site. EDAMA, the Jordanian partner of SIRCLES, selected Aqaba due to high food waste generation from the hospitality industry.

NEETs working in the pilot composting facility in Aqaba, Jordan

SIRCLES operating across the Mediterranean region, aiming to explore new employment opportunities by applying circular economy principles to the biowaste sector. EDAMA, being a business association committed to fueling Jordan's Green Economy, recognizes the opportunities that environmental challenges generate. With the support of a wide network of experts in the waste management sector, EDAMA is leading the composting pilot project in Aqaba. The project focuses on building new capacities oriented towards business development, separation, collection, and composting of biowaste. 

Since 2021, EDAMA used its network to find a prime location for the facility and prepare it with the necessary logistical arrangements and advanced equipment to ensure effective processing of organic waste. Meanwhile, EDAMA started searching for women and young people who are not engaged in education, employment, or training (NEETs) to join the planned trainings. It applied a thorough process to identify and select NEETs.

NEETs working in the pilot composting facility in Aqaba, Jordan

The location of the facility was carefully selected in partnership with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA). It was able to utilize its wide network of stakeholders to engage decision-makers who could supply a suitable land for the facility. After receiving approvals for the land, EDAMA started preparing the composting site in November 2022. Following that, they purchased equipment with international standards, which will allow the facility to operate effectively, providing optimal decomposition conditions for organic waste. They secured the necessary shredders, composting tumblers, and other equipment. The facility is now officially operating and is receiving orgnic waste while regularly monitoring waste temperature levels, moisture levels, and pH levels, ensuring an efficient breakdown of the organic matter into nutrient-rich compost. This marks a major milestone in reducing the amount of waste in landfills and improving soil fertility in the city. The site is now receiving waste.

Meanwhile, SIRCLES in Jordan offered a comprehensive training scheme meant to enhance the capacities of those who joined it. The trainees were equipped with the necessary knowledge on composting, waste management, and practical experience covering all aspects of the operations that will take place in the facility, including collection, delivering organic waste materials, maintaining the compost pile, and monitoring the temperature, moisture level, and pH level of the pile. In addition, they were introduced to soft skill training, empowering NEETs with the necessary knowledge on entrepreneurship, proposal writing, presentation skills, and self-promotion. The trainings took place from May through August 2022, and thirty-eight trainees attended. Eight of them were selected to work in the pilot.

NEETs working in the pilot composting facility in Aqaba, Jordan

Following the preparation of the site and equipping NEETs with knowledge, EDAMA further utilized its network to establish positive relationships with hotels in Aqaba that will supply food waste and green waste. Most importantly, they built partnerships with local waste management companies to deliver organic waste material to the composting