30 Jan 2022
Amman, Jordan
Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Waste Management

In her home country of Jordan, Enas Radwan saw a problem: many of her compatriots did not realise the value of their recyclables. Everyday, households generate waste — including glass, plastic, and paper — that could be sold and reused productively. Of course, Radwan was not the first Jordanian to realise this source of value, lying around in plain sight. For decades, Jordan’s waste pickers have combed rubbish piles across the country in search of recyclable materials, which they can sell for profit.

In 2021, Radwan joined forces with Ashraf Smadi and Tariq Othman to found eRecycleHUB, a platform to help Jordanians recycle more effectively. Under the startup’s business model, users sign up to eRecycleHUB’s mobile or web application and receive points for providing various forms of recyclable waste for collection. “Our application provides our customers with a more convenient, accessible, and affordable solution to participate in recycling,” Radwan explained.

Radwan started out in Jordan’s recycling industry in 2018, when she was alarmed by the lack of recycling being done by local businesses and households. To make matters worse, private sector companies were not offering door-to-door recycling services, abandoning the market to underused government recycling operations.

With business savvy, Radwan identified an opportunity: both to preserve Jordan’s environment more effectively, while also supporting a profitable commercial enterprise. “We respect the environment while maintaining business growth,” she said.

Like any entrepreneur, Radwan knew where to look for qualified assistance. She teamed up with web developer Smadi, who is building eRecycleHUB’s iOS and Android apps, and engaged logistics expert Othman to handle the company’s field operations. 

In a short space of time, the eRecycleHUB team has designed a comprehensive business model. Customers — who will include households, restaurants, cafes, and malls — can use the app to book a collection time when eRecycleHUB’s collectors are in the relevant area.

Upon arriving at the premises, the collectors will weigh the recyclable waste provided and credit the user’s account with a defined number of points. The user can redeem the points for cash or other benefits listed on the app. eRecycleHUB then sells the recyclable waste to third party agents.

Users do not receive points for merely handing over a pile of recyclable waste. “Recyclables need to be cleaned, dried, and sorted out beforehand,” Radwan said. “Clients face a points deduction if their recyclables are not organised as required.”

This participatory approach ensures that eRecycleHUB will be able to maximise its profits, while customers understand how proper recycling works. “There is a lack of awareness about the importance of recycling,” she asserted. “People in Jordan [tend] not [to] recycle.”

At the time of writing, eRecycleHUB is still waiting for government approvals to launch the company’s operations. Encouragingly, UNICEF recently provided seed funding to eRecycleHUB, which has also taken part in an incubation program run by the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST).

It is little wonder that development and academic institutions have shown such keen interest in eRecycleHUB’s work. Radwan explains that the company aims to provide formal, stable income for current waste pickers in Jordan, whose hard and valuable work has long gone unrecognised.

For so many years, waste pickers have provided the main link between waste generators and recyclers in Jordan. Now, eRecycleHUB has boldly set out to strengthen this connection, creating a win:win scenario for households, businesses, waste pickers, the recycling industry, and — of course — the environment.


Learn more about eRecycleHUB through the website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Photos courtesy of eRecycleHUB


David Wood is a freelance writer and researcher based in Beirut. He previously worked in Cairo.David Wood
The missing link — Jordanian startup connects waste generators with recyclers | The Switchers
eRecycleHUB Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Waste Management