07 Jul 2021
Amman, Jordan
Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Waste Management

In 2018, a spark of inspiration ignited in the mind of Jaber Suleiman. The Jordanian computer science student was gazing around his university library when a truly national challenge dawned on him: plastic waste, as far as the eye could see. “I saw plastic bottles in every space: across the library, in the laboratories, in the offices,” recalled Suleiman, the founder of Shalmona, an eco-friendly product design company.

Suleiman immediately started drawing up a business plan that would create practical solutions for Jordan’s plastic waste problem, along with other pressing issues. Since establishing Shalmona in 2019, Suleiman and his team have designed and manufactured the Shalmona bottle, a reusable water container with unique, eco-friendly features. Now, Shalmona seeks to capitalise on early sales to branch out into new products that engrain environmental conservationism into daily Jordanian life.

Over the past three years, Suleiman’s team at Shalmona has set a shining example of perseverance for other young entrepreneurs. After Suleiman’s fateful moment of inspiration in the university library, he set about turning his vague dream into a concrete reality.

As Suleiman explains, he found roles at Shalmona that were best suited to his colleagues’ professional skill sets. Bara’a came onboard to lead product design, Sajedah handled content writing, and Jenan took responsibility for the company’s public relations. Meanwhile, Suleiman took on Shalmona’s management tasks, including internal task allocations and business meetings.

In 2019, the team designed their first product: the Shalmona water bottle. The new product did not imitate established competitors in the reusable drink container market, as produced by brands like Contigo, 24Bottles, and Root7. Instead, Bara’a spearheaded an innovative prototype with features like Therma Technology (which keeps drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours) and the No-Sweat Design (which keeps fingers dry while being comfortable to hold).

Unsurprisingly, Suleiman recalls this breakthrough fondly. “When we held the bottle in our hands for the first time, it was an incredible moment,” he enthused.

Yet just as the company reached this exciting milestone, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. This led to Shalmona’s team spending most of 2020 trying to find a manufacturer who could produce the Shalmona bottle in marketable quantities.

At last, Shalmona found a production company in December 2020. Suleiman proudly describes the firm as one of the best manufacturers available. Since then, Shalmona has started selling its reusable water bottle to workers from international organisations and students, who share Shalmona’s eco-friendly attitude.

Suleiman’s team has no plans to rest on its laurels. Instead, they are already planning to create other products that help tackle Jordan’s environmental challenges. “Our plan for now is to produce other creative products that have many technological aspects and can be used in daily routines,” he said.

Eco-friendly product design will never be a hassle-free field to enter. Suleiman warns that Shalmona’s work requires a great deal of creativity and patience — as demonstrated by the company’s lengthy, inspiration-led story.

Nevertheless, Suleiman adds that a positive impact on sustainability makes the arduous process worth it. “We love it when we receive awesome feedback from our customers,” he smiled.

 

Learn more about Shalmona through the website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Photos courtesy of Shalmona

David Wood is a freelance writer and researcher based in Beirut. He previously worked in Cairo.David Wood
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Shalmona Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Waste Management