Alstom Foundation Project - Egypt: Waste Collection Scheme


Objective: To develop a sustainable economic scheme around waste collection for young garbage collectors  

In Egypt, the Foundation is combining environmental education and awareness with economic development by supporting a project built around waste collection: provide each year 100 of Cairo’s informal garbage collectors, known as Zabbaleens, with hands-on training in the skills and tools to become entrepreneurs in eco-friendly waste management.

The Zabbaleen communities of Cairo already handle 40% of the city’s waste, and recycle nearly 85% of that, a rate much higher than most western cities. Training will target the inefficiencies in the current collection, transportation and recycling processes, and how they can be improved under new eco-friendly concepts. In addition to refurbishing a training centre, a new solid waste management installation is underway, with new recycling equipment to:

  • add rice straw to compost to reduce and eliminate bad smells and improve quality
  • manufacture various new plastic products such as spacers (used in construction) and garbage bags
  • make manhole covers out of recycled plastic and sand, which can be sold or used in residential areas. Steel will be added to make them more sturdy for use on streets with heavy traffic

The training centre will also hold educational courses for hotel and hospital workers to demonstrate applications of eco-friendly concepts, services and suppliers to their own professions. 

Key Figures

Beneficiaries: 100 men and women/year

Duration: 2 years

Location: Cairo, Egypt 

Association for the Protection of the Environment (APE)

The Association for the Protection of the Environment, founded in Cairo in 1984, promotes environmentally safe solid waste management in Egypt by empowering the Zabbaleen garbage collectors, particularly women, youth, and children, to become technologically able to manage a viable system of household waste, including recycling. The garbage collectors become agents of change for a better environment through the association’s comprehensive development, including health, education, social, economic and cultural programs actions.

Visit the APE’s website 

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