Introduction

Case Study: Recycling Systems in Morocco: SERP Recyclage

The sector of waste collection and recycling in Morocco presents an interesting set of conditions that makes it particularly interesting for research. On the one hand, public institutions are making a relevant effort to modernize their procedures in order to improve the circularity of their economy, by increasing the recycling rates. However, the public infrastructure to such an end is still on development, therefore the country recycling scheme relies significantly in the intervention of private companies and waste collectors (both in the informal and informal sector). In this regard, it offers rich possibilities of study, as each of these actors have different interests and strategies, from which a complex set of interactions of cooperation and conflict arise.

Description

Strategic Sectors
UAB – Plastics in Circular Economy

Location
Morocco

Responsible Partners
MedWaves (former SCP/RAC) & University of Vigo

External supporting partners
SERP Recyclage

Sector
Plastic Waste

The case

from theory to implementation on the ground

The case study focuses on the activities of SERP Recyclage, a private waste management company based in Casablanca. SERP Recyclage operates as an outsourcing company that works with municipalities and major companies all over Morocco, offering waste collection and sorting resources.

The company has two major facilities for waste sorting in Mohammédia and Casablanca, as well as 11 trucks for waste collection. The premise of the company is that their outsourcing services improve the efficiency of waste sorting and recycling systems, making it easier for companies and municipalities to comply with sustainable practices. The main outcome of their recycling systems is the production of construction bricks.

In addition, the CEO of SERP Recyclage is also the President of the Fédération des Recycleurs, Collecteurs et Chineurs Au Maroc, a federation of associations that agglutinates waste collectors and recyclers in Morocco. Its aim is to channel the demands of the sector and its workers to the administration, advocating for a higher professionalization and better working conditions for waste collectors, a job that is frequently associated to accidents and labor instability.

This company conducts outsourcing services both for private corporations, such as Marjane, McDonalds, or Sheraton, and public institutions, such as municipal governments.

The case study has the particularity that the CEO of SERP Recyclage is a businesswoman, Touria Sbiri, and all its management team is also composed by women.

In addition, the CEO of SERP Recyclage is also the President of the Fédération des Recycleurs, Collecteurs et Chineurs Au Maroc, a federation of associations that agglutinates waste collectors and recyclers in Morocco.

Distinctive aspects of the case study

Throughout the research, we will delve into the role played by outsourcing companies, like SERP Recyclage, in the general scenario of waste management in Morocco. We are particularly interested in how they help organize the distribution of labor in the sector, throughout their relationships with public institutions and informal collectors. From a broad perspective, it is also relevant to focus on the impact of outsourcing companies on the working conditions and the professionalization of waste collectors. On the other side, this company conducts outsourcing services both for private corporations, such as Marjane, McDonalds, or Sheraton, and public institutions, such as municipal governments. In this regard, it will be interesting to compare the kind of services and interactions that they provide to each sector, private and public. In addition, SERP Recyclage carries out awareness campaigns on waste recycling aimed at promoting sustainable practices on Moroccan citizens, which is another interesting aspect for our study.

The case study has the particularity that the CEO of SERP Recyclage is a businesswoman, Touria Sbiri, and all its management team is also composed by women. These is an unusual situation in the sector that will allow us to delve into the gender perspective of our analysis,  by grasping the experience of leading women in a male-dominated work environment.

Another relevant aspect of the case study is that Touria Sbiri is also the President of the Fédération des Recycleurs, Collecteurs et Chineurs Au Maroc, as pointed above. This federation is composed of several associations whose participants are involved in different roles and positions of the waste management industry. Along our research on the activities of SERP Recyclage, we will also engage with this other actors, gaining a broader understanding of the social problems around waste management systems.

Main contact

Touria Sbiri, president of SERP Recyclage and of the Fédération des Recycleurs, Collecteurs et Chineurs Au Maroc.

Researchers

The research project will be carried out by Iria Vázquez Silva (ivazquez@uvigo.es.) and Javier de Rivera Outomuro (javierderivera@uvigo.es), both sociology professors and researchers at the University of Vigo (Spain).

Pedro Fernández Bautista, project manager at MedWaves (former SCP/RAC), will support the work and review outcomes. With background studies on environmental science, he is acting as project manager of several plastics, marine litter and circular economy initiatives and policy development within the Barcelona Convention at MedWaves (former SCP/RAC). He currently intervenes as plastic pollution prevention expert in WES and Marine Litter Med projects, providing capacity building and technical support in the Southern Mediterranean. This relates particularly to the prevention of single-use plastic products and promotion of extended producer responsibility, and hence involving the private sector through consultation and negotiation. In Morocco, he is providing technical support to the Ministry of Environment to draft a roadmap for the implementation of extended producers responsibility on PET beverage bottles.