Saudi Investment Recycling Company aims to drive the circular economy

Global Insights
16 March 2023 Riyadh, KSA
  • Largest waste management company in the GCC aims to meet stringent landfill targets by 2035 
  • “We’re all trying, as a Kingdom, to improve the carbon footprint of this world,” says Group CEO of PIF-owned recycling company
  • The Fund’s investments support a vibrant Saudi society and diverse economy
If there’s one thing all of us produce daily, it’s trash. Every year, millions of tons of waste are generated by humans around the world – from unwanted food to single-use plastics. Less than 20% is currently recycled, with most of it still sent to landfill sites. This inflicts a heavy toll on the environment, affecting the soil, water and air, and adversely impacts people’s health and wellbeing.
Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s transformative economic and social reform blueprint, includes the Quality of Life Program, which aims to nurture an environment where every citizen enjoys a happy and fulfilling life.
Aligned with the national strategy, PIF is focusing on 13 strategic sectors, including utilities and renewable energy, to boost unique opportunities and bring long-term returns. To that end, the Fund in 2017 launched the Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC) to establish recycling capacities in the country and build a circular economy for a sustainable future.
“If you look at PIF and its drive toward the sustainability goals of Vision 2030 – improving the lifestyle and creating a vibrant society – I don’t think you can create any of that if you don’t have a clean environment,” Ziyad Al-Shiha, Group CEO of SIRC, told PIF Global Insights.
“PIF is implementing projects on the ground that will improve the whole ambience around us to make sure that it is clean, environmentally sound and safe.”
The largest waste management company in the GCC, SIRC is taking serious measures to improve recycling and treatment facilities in Saudi Arabia. Covering 14 kinds of refuse – such as everyday garbage, medical waste, and construction and demolition waste – the company aims to meet the targets set by the Waste Management National Regulatory Framework for 2035.
Utilizing a variety of methods, including recycling, reusing, treatment and waste-to-energy conversion, SIRC’s goals include diverting 82% of all waste from landfill by 2035.
“We have Vision 2030 – we know where we’re going. We have the right investment and the right regulation. Putting all three together, it then becomes a numbers game of how many facilities we can deploy on the ground to reach that target,” said Al-Shiha.
While an overarching framework is essential to Saudi Arabia’s sustainability efforts, everyone has a role to play in reducing waste and overall consumption. “If you don’t have to use it, don’t use it. This is minimizing the use of resources,” said Al-Shiha. “If you have to use it, then use it again and again.”
Al-Shiha considers the long-term future he wants for his children and grandchildren. “I hope that one day we will reach recycling rates that are as high as possible to leave a better world for our kids and future generations,” he said. “We’re all trying, as a Kingdom, to improve the carbon footprint of this world.”