Tunisia: How to Run an Île de Propreté?

Developing Business Models in Sheltered Container Spots for a Decentralized Waste Handling by Involving All Participants

WtERT Germany

Waste collection in Tunisia usually resembles the picture below: Garbage is deposited in and next to a few unattended containers that are not sufficient for the community.  This handling of waste pollutes the soil, water, and air.  Furthermore, there is no sorting into different waste fractions.  Recyclables mixed with residual waste all collected here are most often dumped untreated.  As a result, the profits that could be made by marketing those recyclables are lost. 
Overfilled bins at an unorganized collection point

In the Tunisian waste management sector responsibilities got reorganized in the year 2018.  On the national level "ANGeD” (National Agency for Waste Management) oversees the development and the implementation of strategies and is in charge for the storage and utilization of waste.  The collection methods and the separate collection of recyclables are recently in the hands of the municipalities.  This cooperation with new areas of responsibility between centralized and local waste management is new and the working process is not yet fully developed. 

Our goals

We aim to achieve, with the idea of the „île de propreté” (1), a healthier environment, cleaner cities, and the creation of jobs in the waste management sector. 
Specifically, the aim is to involve all stakeholders in the medium to long term to clean up and to keep the city clean.  A further objective is for participants to increasingly perceive and use waste as a resource.  This can also bring attention to waste management as a possible new economic sector.  Hence, the development and testing of several business models is planned for the operation of the îles de propreté.  This also involves job creation.  WtERT Germany has developed a variety of three business models that are being tested and evaluated during the pilot operation of the îles de propreté within the EGIDD project (2).  The business model variants are (1) Employee model, 2) contract model, and 3) license-based operation. 

  1. Employee model  
The guardian of the île de propreté is an employee of the municipality and is paid by it. Income and expenditure on material flows is regulated between the municipality and ANGeD.
2. Contract model 
The guardian of the île de propreté is an employee of a private waste management company (as started in Siliana) and is paid by the latter. Income/expenditure on material flows is regulated between the waste management company and the municipality / ANGeD.  
3. License-based model

The guardian of the île de propreté is self-employed. A site-specific license regulates 
- his tasks 
- which recoverable fractions become his property and 
- whether an additional payment is necessary. 
The collection of other waste fractions is regulated by the municipality / ANGeD.

In all three models, the involvement of the informal sector is to be considered. Especially in the license-based model, it is planned to actively involve the informal sector and to allow it to legally participate in the value creation.
Barbècha is carrying a bag of plastic bottles
The details of the contractual agreements on material flows and responsibilities of the parties involved will be developed during the introduction of the business models at the îles de propreté by the various municipalities. In case the municipality is the operator of the île de propreté it will be examined whether the expenses for the guardian already pay off through the saved costs for collection, disposal, and street cleaning.  In addition, it will be explored whether the operation of an île de propreté is profitable for private companies.  By determining a suitable catchment area, the possible number of managed îles de propreté and thus the additional employment will be calculated. 
People and organizations involved

The decisive factor to achieve a functioning waste handling is the collaboration of all participants involved.  Mainly we need the residents, as important stakeholders, to be aware of waste as a resource and hence to commit to the issue and their task.  They need to feel responsible and consciously take on their share.  On the other hand, there are the people involved in the organization and collection of this waste.  And finally, there are those responsible for organizing and carrying out street cleaning.
Shown is the interface between residents (waste producers),
street cleaning and waste collection.  If the three parties at the île de propreté
work well together, the city will be clean.

The île de propreté is the place where the interaction of these parties can be practised again.  The guardian of the île is the person who brings together the individual areas of communication of all parties and thus reveal the gaps in communication that still exist today.  Hence, regardless of the business model, the guardian's tasks are the following:
- Deal in a friendly manner with the residents and users of the île de propreté
- Talk to residents and answer questions about waste separation at home and waste as a resource
- Talk to residents about awareness of keeping the environment clean 
- Recognize and distinguish valuable materials and supervise residents to ensure proper separation of waste in the correct container
- Clean and maintain the île de propreté waste bins and facilities and keep its surroundings clean
- Check the île de propreté’s waste bins and installations to ensure they are in good condition and contact the craftsman if necessary 
- Guard the property of the île de propreté against fire hazards and other damage 
- Collect information about the catchment area of the île de propreté and about the composition of the waste and inform the municipal contact persons
- Coordinate the collection of household waste and organic waste with the municipalities
 - Coordinate    the collection of recyclables with recyclers
- Ensure compliance with environmental regulations at the île de propreté
- Ensure safety through constant use of personal protective equipment 
- Ensure compliance with Covid-19 prevention measures of current regulations  

In addition, on a strategic level the waste handling involves 
-the municipalities, responsible for the collection of waste; 
-ANGeD, in charge of the development and the implementation of strategies as well as the storage and utilization of waste; 
-the recyclers and 
-the intermediaries. 

 Stakeholder and tasks that influence the successful operation of the île de propreté

Workshop on cooperation

In December 2020 the need for networking of the parties involved in collecting, separating, transporting, and selling the waste or recyclables was pointed out to the community representatives of Siliana, Tabarka and Daour Hicher and representatives of ANGeD in an extensive workshop.  In a joint dialogue, we identified participants involved and discussed their importance in the network.  It became clear that, while detailing the business models, the communication and action paths between these actors must be clarified.  The missing organizational processes and legal regulations between involved parties need to be developed in the future.
This project is being conducted by WtERT Germany GmbH in collaboration with the municipalities of Siliana, Tabarka, Daour Hicher and ANGeD (Agence Nationale de Gestion des Déchets).  The project team is managed by Fraunhofer UMSICHT.  It is being financed by the Bavarian Chancellery and the Tunisian Ministry of the Environment.


(1) Case Study:  On its Way to a Cleaner City, Siliana Begins Operation of Tunisia’s First "île de propreté"
(2) News: Sustainable Waste Management Project in Tunisia 

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