Record-breaking Waste Project to be launched in Egypt

With the help of Cowi, Egyptian authorities are establishing the country’s largest-ever waste management project. Cowi was recently named as the best in the world at handling refuse on the prestigious ENR ranking list of international consulting firms.

The authorities in Egypt have decided to step up efforts to stop the discarding of plastic, builders’ rubble and other waste on streets and highways and have chosen two densely populated regions, Kafr El Sheik and Gharbia with some 8 million inhabitants, as pilots for a comprehensive waste management effort in the country.

The project will run over five years, and the aim is to collect and process around 5,000 tonnes of waste a day, in the interests of health, the economy and the environment. The project will also help to increase capacity and enhance cooperation between the State, regions and local operators in the waste management field, explains Carsten Skov from Cowi, the advisor to the project.

“There is a need for detailed planning and preparation of strategies, action plans and guidelines for waste management. Furthermore, we will help with project design and oversee the implementation of processing plants and the purchase of collection equipment. Collecting the large quantities of waste that disfigure the landscape will be a major step forward. Equally important is to establish effective sorting, in the interests of both health and the environment,” says Carsten Skov.
World champions in waste management

But it is not necessarily the case that all the affected parties in Egypt are ready to applaud the big waste project, he points out.

“There will always be someone who thinks it is tough to change such deep-rooted habits. The Egyptians have little experience of collecting and sorting waste, so there will be many people in authorities and companies and among the public who have to get used to new routines, and that could take time. We have experience of that sort of challenge in South Africa, for example, where we still managed to set off a positive movement benefitting the economy, the environment and public health,” says Carsten Skov.

New legal requirements and urbanisation mean that there is a rising demand for waste management around the world. Cowi is helping a number of international donors and private investors with investments in advanced waste management facilities in e. g. Sri Lanka, Angola and South Africa.

Cowi was named as the world leader in waste management and recycling, measured in terms of turnover, in the latest ranking from Engineering News Record magazine  read more. Turnover from Cowi’s consulting services within waste management ran to USD 29.5 million in 2015. ?


The waste management project in Egypt will run for approx. 5 years and has a total budget of EUR 50-100 million, financed by German development aid organisations (KfW and GIZ).

Cowi's consulting contract is worth EUR 6.5 million and involves an international multi-disciplinary team of some 50 staff, including engineers, institutional experts, economists and others.

Some of the components covered by the project:

  • Approx. 10-20 collection systems
  • Approx. 5-15 loading stations
  • Approx. 5-10 waste sorting facilities
  • Approx. 3-6 composting plants
  • Approx. 4-6 new/modern landfill sites
  • Approx. 20-40 large existing 'dump sites' will be closed and cleaned up.

Source: Cowi

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