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‘First-of-its-kind’ recycling facility opened in Irbid

The first solid waste recycling facility in Irbid Governorate marked its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony under the patronage of Governor of Irbid Radwan Otoum in Truck City on Tuesday, according to an EU statement. 
 
The ceremony was attended by EU Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou and Mayor of Greater Irbid Municipality Hussein Bani Hani. 
 
The recycling facility was built under the framework of the E4 project "E4 Enhancing Employment Opportunities in Jordan Energy and Environment Sectors" at a value of 3.34 million euros, and funded by the EU with support from Fondazione Prince Albert II of Monaco and Fondazione Terzo Pilastro. 
 
Istituto per la Cooperazione Universitaria was the implementing partner in partnership with the Greater Irbid Municipality, the Jordanian European Project for Environmental Solutions, the University of Brescia and Yarmouk Water Company, according to the statement.
 
"This project is an example of 3 million-euro, EU-specific support to solid waste recycling, within a circular economy vision and a vision to enhance public-private partnerships in the sector... I hope that the Municipality of Greater Irbid will continue this difficult but rewarding path towards recycling," Hadjitheodosiou was quoted in the statement as saying.
 
During the ceremony, project manager Dora Biondani said that Jordan, which is currently witnessing an "unprecedented high production" of daily waste, faces a “challenging situation”, and called the construction of this pilot project "a very much needed first step towards recycling". 
 
According to Biondani, the facility is designed to process up to 8 tonnes of paper and newspaper waste and 12 tonnes of plastic waste per day. Plastic waste will be granulated in order to be reintroduced into the production process, while paper waste will made into a new product to be used to improve insulation in the construction sector, the statement said. 
 
The new insulation product is considered to have “high potential” in Jordan, as old construction practices often lack proper insulation, she said.
 
Additionally, she noted, the facility was designed to be eco-friendly; 100 kilowatts of photovoltaic panel will help reduce operational costs, while a wastewater treatment unit will provide the opportunity to reuse the same water and reduce the environmental impact of the process, according to the statement.
 
The facility, owned by the Greater Irbid Municipality, will be operated by the Jordanian European Project for Environmental Solutions under an operational agreement, the statement said.
 
A panel discussion during the inauguration event shed light on the perspective of most stakeholders in the waste management sector. The panel featured Reham Jamal representing the Greater Irbid Municipality, Mustafa Jaar representing the private sector, Amal Madanat representing civil society, as well as the Ministry of Environment and waste management sector expert Silvia Gibellini, the statement read. 
 
The “extreme impact” of waste reflects the high interest in the sector, which in turn necessitates a collaborative effort to achieve the desired improvements, the panel discussed. 
 
According to the statement, 41 workers were hired to operate the facility and perform waste collection. The next proposed step is increasing awareness and improving waste collection on the household level. 
 
Under the framework of the E4 project, 20 schools in Irbid have hosted awareness campaigns and students “demonstrated interest and understanding of the urgency to start good practices to create the necessary change”, the statement said.
 
With continuous support from international donors, Jordan has been witnessing improvement in the waste management sector, and "now is the time to accelerate the process by becoming part of the change", the statement concluded.

Jordan Times 
26 November 2019