Solid waste composition analysis and recycling evaluation: Zaatari Syrian Refugees Camp, Jordan


​There is a need for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) stream characterization and composition analysis to allow for an accurate estimation of its recycling potential and for effective management of the entire system. Recycling provides employment and a livelihood for vulnerable social groups such as refugees. The aim of this paper is to determine the composition of MSW in Zaatari Syrian Refugee Camp, where approximately 430,000 Syrian refugees have passed through the camp. The representative waste samples and analysis included household waste and commercial waste produced by the refugees in the selected districts in Zaatari. The waste sampling was performed in 2015 over two seasons to ensure that the seasonal fluctuations in the composition of the waste stream are taken into consideration. Hand sorting was used for classifying the collected wastes into the categories and subcategories. The organic waste represents the main waste category with 53% of the total MSW, while plastics, textile, and paper and cardboard are 12.85%, 10.22% and 9%, respectively. Moreover, the MSW composition percentage in Zaatari Camp is similar to that in municipalities in Jordan with slight disparity. The potential recyclable materials market has been investigated in this study. Plastics and paper and cardboard have significant potential to be separated and collected for recycling purposes. Financial revenues of potential recyclables have been analyzed based on local prices. Recycling model in the camp is also proposed based on the present study findings. Consequently, these results should be taken as a baseline for all Syrian refugees camps in the Middle East, as well as, in Europe.