Smart containers launched to collect plastic waste in Makkah

Monday, March 22, 2021

The National Center for Waste Management (NCWM) and Makkah municipality’s hygiene department is distributing 15 smart, solar-powered machines to collect and sort empty plastic bottles in Makkah. The campaign has been launched in cooperation with PepsiCo and its bottling partner, Middle East and North Africa Beverages Manufacturing Co (MenaBev).

The initiative aims to enhance awareness on the importance of sorting plastic waste from the source to preserve the environment and encourage members of society to put empty plastic bottles into the smart containers. The move is also part of PepsiCo’s efforts to enhance the concept of sustainable environment and apply best global practices to support the circular economy.

The campaign is a result of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by PepsiCo and NCWM in July 2020 to raise awareness on environmental protection by using technological solutions to collect and sort plastic waste.

The MoU established a cooperation framework to produce and operate smart containers that suit the geographical nature of Makkah. The smart, solar-powered containers work on sorting and separating empty plastic bottles from other waste to facilitate and accelerate the collection process for future use in other industries.

NCWM’s CEO Abdullah Faisal Al-Sibaei said: “This initiative seeks to educate and raise awareness in Saudi society on the importance of environmental protection by eliminating plastic waste in an ideal manner. The campaign aims to pilot technological solutions that can be used in the future to specifically deal with plastic waste during the Hajj season. This initiative has been launched in line with Saudi Vision 2030, to protect and develop the holy sites’ environment.”

Al-Sibaei expressed appreciation for PepsiCo’s efforts in launching the campaign, which he said, reflects the company’s keenness to enhance the concept of environmental sustainability.

Makkah municipality’s hygiene department director Mahmoud Sa’ati said: “Makkah municipality is interested in using artificial intelligence technology to sort and collect waste from the source. This step has positive effects on raising awareness, reducing the sorting process and speeding up waste transportation and disposal to factories for treatment and recycling.”

“We hope that this initiative inspires the private sector to contribute to creating sustainable solutions in solving environmental challenges,” he added.

Nadim Nakfour, managing director of MenaBev, said: “This campaign depends on innovative solutions to protect the environment, through the use of smart solar-powered containers to sort plastic packaging. This approach supports sustainable projects in Saudi Arabia, in alignment with Saudi Vision 2030.”

In the past, PepsiCo has launched several environmental activities through Aquafina, the official partner of a number of sport events hosted by the Kingdom, such as ABB FIA Formula E 2019 in Diriyah and Dakar Rally 2020.