Background Iran

In early 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declared that Iran had made significant progress in complying with the international nuclear agreement. Consequently, the international community lifted the economic sanctions that had put pressure on Iran’s economy for more than 10 years. This provides both the country itself and the international community with opportunities to promote Iran’s economic development.

After more than 10 years of sanctions, all economic sectors face a serious lack of technology. The waste situation in Iran is as follows: In urban areas, more than 10.4 million tons of municipal waste is generated annually; average per capita waste generation is 0.64 kg per day. In 2008, the capital city Tehran alone accounted for 2.5 million tons of annual municipal waste generation. Today, the city’s waste volume is expected to be considerably higher. The largest share of municipal waste in Iran is generated in residential buildings.

Waste treatment in Iran is insufficient as only few cities have an integrated waste management system. Only 6% of Iran‘s municipal waste is recycled, about 10% are composted. The remaining municipal waste is usually disposed of in dumpsites. Typical problems related to waste dumping in Iran include open waste incineration and environmental degradation.

The main reasons for insufficient waste treatment in Iran are a lack of technologies and a general lack of capacities. This affects the entire waste sector as Iran lacks technologies to implement effective and efficient waste collection and treatment systems.

The opening of Iran’s economy is expected to trigger economic recovery and to change consumer patterns. Unless Iran develops an adequate waste infrastructure, these changes will aggravate existing problems in the waste sector.

German stakeholders, in particular the export network for the German recycling and waste management industry „RETech“, consider Iran as a key market for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). At the moment, German enterprises show great interest in a joint Iranian-German economic commission. Furthermore, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) expects significant investments in urban infrastructure and particularly in the waste sector.


Country report

As part of the project, a detailed analysis of Iran’s waste management sector is conducted. The report gives an overview of the current situation of the waste management sector, identifies development potentials and provides suggestions on further developments of the sector. The country report has the following structure and provides information in the following areas:

  • Country background information
  • Environmental law and policy
  • Waste generation and treatment
  • Financing of waste management
  • The role of the private sector in waste management
  • Know-how and technology transfer

The country study can be accessed here.

The short version of the country study is available in German and Farsi.


Country workshop (25 February 2017, Tehran)

On 25 February 2017, a country workshop was held in Tehran/ Iran. The aim of the workshop was to validate the information from the previously published country study and to discuss possible measures for the further development of Iranian waste management. In addition, the workshop served as a platform for representatives of the Iranian and German waste industries to meet and to explore cooperation potentials for future waste management projects in Iran.

The workshop was realised as part of the "Iran-Germany Waste Management Initiative" that had been founded by the Iranian partners. Therefore, the more than 200 participants did not only include Iranian and German waste sector representatives but also high-level politicians from both sides.

The event was opened by Dr Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice-President of Iran and Head of Iran’s Department of Environment (DoE), as well as by Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for the Environment. After the official opening, the UFOPLAN-project “Transfer of waste management concepts” was presented to ensure that the audience became familiar with the preliminary project results and the main findings of the country study. A representative of the German Environment Agency then explained the broader context of German and European waste management concepts. This presentation was followed by inputs about the German RETech Partnership and thermal waste treatment options in Germany (ITAD e.V.).

The Iranian speakers represented a great number of high-level political and economic institutions, including:

  • Ministry of the Interior
  • Ministry of Economic Affairs
  • Iran National Environment Fund
  • Municipal Investment Fund
  • National Petrochemical Company (NPC)
  • MA Insurance

In the afternoon, representatives of German waste management technology providers seized the opportunity to present their products and services (see below). Afterwards, the workshop was concluded by a lecture by the German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and a presentation by the University of Tehran.

The private sector representatives intensified their exchange during B2B-meetings in the late afternoon. During these meetings, Iranian and German company delegations discussed business opportunities for future cooperation in the waste sector.

Throughout the day, Iranian participants had the opportunity to communicate their feedback on the country study and the German view on future cooperation potentials via a questionnaire that had been distributed among the participants. The evaluation of these questionnaires will be used for the preparation of recommendations for Iran’s waste management sector. This document will soon be available here.

The links below provide access to the presentations given on 25 February in Tehran:

Photos of the event are available on the website of the Iranian Department of Environment.

The workshop agenda can be accessed here


Results report

The country study was discussed at the workshop with representatives of the Iranian waste management sector. The results of these discussions have now been incorporated into a result report by the project partners. This results report highlights the main findings of the study as well as recommendations for the further development of the Iranian waste sector. In addition, the publication reiterates the potential for cooperation between Germany and Iran and lists contact points for those who are striving for such cooperation.

The result report can be downloaded here: German / English / Farsi


News & Events

In this section of the website you will find information on upcoming events related to the waste management in Iran as well as general news on the topic. The news and events site is no longer updated!