Landfill to landscape: Bee’ah and Foster + Partners ink deal for innovative transformation of waste site

  • The leading environmental company has ambitious plans above and beyond its zero waste to landfill target

Bee’ah, the Middle East’s leading environmental energy and waste management company has today signed a major agreement with Foster + Partners, one of the world’s most innovative architecture and integrated design practices.

After emerging as the winner of a competitive tender process, the agreement will see the British firm create a masterplan for the redevelopment of what is currently Sharjah’s principal landfill site at Bee’ah’s own Waste Management Centre.

The Centre is located in the Al Saj’ah district of Sharjah and houses recovery and recycling facilities that are among the largest and most sophisticated in the world. Managed by a team of international, industry-leading experts, additional facilities will be added to the Centre in the future to further recycle the received material.

Foster + Partners’ plans are being drawn up in anticipation of Bee’ah’s landfill site becoming redundant, which will happen once the city reaches its ‘zero waste to landfill’ target in 2020. In London to sign the agreement, His Excellency Salim Al Owais, Chairman of Bee’ah expressed high delight that the company would be working with such a renowned partner. “It gives us great pleasure to be here today, signing this important agreement with Foster + Partners. In doing so Bee’ah is once again forming a partnership with a global leader in its field and a company that shares our commitment to making the world a cleaner, healthier and more attractive place for future generations to enjoy.

“The agreement is also a clear demonstration of how we do not consider it sufficient simply to meet our zero waste to landfill target. We seek to go further by redeveloping the location in order to show others just how, having transformed their waste management practices, they too can utilise former landfill sites in an environmentally sustainable way, adding value to them for the benefit of their economy.”

The prospect of Sharjah reaching its historic zero waste to landfill target has been brought much closer through the recent groundbreaking for a state of the art waste-to-energy plant which is now under construction at the Waste Management Centre.

That project, being implemented by the Bee’ah and Masdar JV Emirates Waste to Energy Company (EWEC), is just the first of a number of similar facilities planned for construction in the region by Bee’ah.

The existing landfill site, situated on a plot adjacent to the company’s headquarters, will be transformed in a project which, while yet to be publicly announced, will reflect Bee’ah’s vision of a world in which clean energy is generated sustainably and utilised both sparingly and efficiently by employing innovative technology. Indeed, the reuse of the site is in itself an illustration of how Bee’ah has adopted and is implementing the model of a circular economy. Through this model Sharjah’s resources are retained by the community via waste diversion, reclamation, and recycling, creating both jobs and materials from which society directly benefits.

For Foster + Partners, Giles Robinson, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners explained how the tie-up with Bee’ah was something of a meeting of minds. “It is with a sense of excitement and anticipation that we are entering into a partnership agreement with Bee’ah as we have been deeply impressed by their vision to go far beyond what might be considered the standard transformation of a landfill site. We believe that this vision, as interpreted though our masterplan, represents a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate just what can be achieved at sites like this which feature in every industrialised nation on the planet. The project will also serve to further showcase Bee’ah’s waste management centre as a place where innovation, environmental best practice and good design take centre stage.”

His Excellency Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah highlighted the significance of the project in the company’s development as a major player in what is an increasingly important industry sector. “The masterplan which will be developed by Foster + Partners will come to fruition as a direct result of Sharjah vigorously pursuing its target of becoming the first city in the Middle East to send zero waste to landfill. We are proud of the part we are playing in the creation of a sustainable and circular economy in Sharjah that has resource efficiency and environmental responsibility at its heart.

“Through strategic partnerships with some of the world’s most innovative, creative and forward-thinking companies such as Foster + Partners we are confident that we can apply this approach elsewhere, bringing sustainable development in new markets and promoting a circular economy in communities that are ready and willing to commit to resource recovery. In this way, we will play a substantial role, regionally and globally, in accelerating the pace of change as we move towards a more sustainable future.”

Bee’ah was established in 2007 to tackle the region’s environmental challenges in accordance with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, around sustainable development. In the intervening ten years the company has grown rapidly to establish itself as the leader in environmental management regionally while developing an increasingly important profile on the global stage.