12 Ways to Live Eco-Friendly in Saudi Arabia

How to recycle in Saudi Arabia? This question is often asked by people interested in ways to live eco-friendly in the country. Here are 12 easy and simple ways everyone in Saudi Arabia can recycle and conserve the environment.

Saudi Arabia is known for its stunning natural landscapes and unique biodiversity. From the Red Sea coastline to the vast deserts, the Kingdom possesses a wealth of natural beauty that is worth preserving. Even the smallest changes in our daily routines can make a significant difference in preserving the environment for future generations.

It may seem like a drop in the ocean, but when hundreds or even thousands of people come together and make these small changes, it becomes a powerful wave of change. If you’re ready to become part of this noble change, then keep on reading until the end!

12 Ways to Live Eco-Friendly in in Saudi Arabia

In the following sections, we will highlight some practical ways to recycle in Saudi Arabia that are specifically relevant to people living in the Kingdom and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

Recycling is an important topic nowadays and in line with the Saudi Vision 2030.

By implementing these recycling practices and embracing a sustainable mindset, we can contribute to creating a greener and more eco-conscious Saudi Arabia.

1. Reduce usage of plastic bags by opting for reusable bags when shopping and minimizing acceptance of plastic bags.

The single most efficient thing everyone in the Kingdom can do is cut down on the number of plastic bags they take home from the store.

It’s astonishing how many people opt for having their groceries and purchases placed separately in numerous plastic bags, rather than consolidating everything into one or two larger bags.

Upon reflection, this practice seems unnecessary and even absurd.

Do we truly need 20 plastic bags to carry the 21 items we bought?

In reality, it’s entirely feasible to fit all those items into a single large bag without any difficulty.

One of the contributing factors to this issue is the default behavior of baggers in Saudi grocery stores, who tend to place only one or two items per bag.

This seemingly innocuous habit can quickly accumulate, resulting in 40-60 plastic bags per average family per grocery shopping visit.

Considering that families typically go grocery shopping once a week, with additional visits for a few items here and there, the number of bags used can easily exceed 80 bags per week.

That amounts to approximately 400 bags per month and a staggering 4800 bags per year!

When you multiply this by the number of Saudi and expat families who engage in such practices, the magnitude of the problem becomes evident—millions of plastic bags wasted, serving no purpose whatsoever.

Tragically, many of these bags end up littering the streets, deserts, beaches, and even the sea, posing a significant threat to our environment.

It’s high time we reevaluate our reliance on plastic bags and embrace the use of reusable bags when shopping to significantly reduce this unnecessary waste.

By making this simple change, we can make a substantial positive impact on the environment and preserve the natural beauty of Saudi Arabia for future generations.

2. Recycle water bottles by utilizing available recycling facilities and collection points in Saudi Arabia.

Most people in Saudi Arabia, including OFWs and expats, consume bottled water as their primary source of hydration.

This preference often leads to an excessive accumulation of plastic bottles, resulting in environmental challenges.

However, there are practical steps that OFWs and expats can also take to address this issue.

One approach is to recycle water bottles by utilizing the available recycling facilities and collection points in Saudi Arabia.

Many cities and communities have designated recycling centers where you can drop off your empty water bottles for proper recycling.

Take the initiative to locate these facilities in your area and make a habit of regularly recycling your bottles.

By doing so, you contribute to reducing plastic waste and promoting a greener environment.

Another option for OFWs and expats is to purchase large recyclable water bottles from companies like Nestle, which offer home delivery services.

These larger bottles can be refilled multiple times, reducing the need for purchasing and disposing of numerous small water bottles.

By opting for this eco-friendly alternative, you not only save money but also contribute to preserving nature and reducing the burden on your back from handling heavy loads of disposable water bottles.

Additionally, consider switching to reusable water bottles made of metal or other durable materials.

These bottles can be easily washed, refilled from larger water tanks, and reused indefinitely.

By investing in reusable water bottles, you eliminate the need for single-use plastic bottles altogether, making a significant impact on reducing plastic waste.

Embracing this practice can be particularly beneficial for OFWs and expats who are often on the go, providing a convenient and environmentally friendly way to stay hydrated.

By applying these approaches, OFWs and expats in Saudi Arabia can actively participate in recycling efforts and make a positive impact on the environment.

Let’s make the switch to reusable bottles and take advantage of the recycling infrastructure available to us, creating a more sustainable future for Saudi Arabia and the world.

3. Use water sparingly by practicing mindful water consumption and conservation techniques.

In Saudi Arabia, it is not uncommon for families to own multiple cars, and the responsibility of washing these vehicles often falls on drivers or housemaids.

Unfortunately, a wasteful practice prevails, where hundreds of gallons of running water are sprayed from hoses to clean cars or outdoor areas, resulting in unnecessary water consumption.

As OFWs and expats living in Saudi Arabia, there are simple yet impactful steps we can take to address this issue and promote water conservation.

One way to contribute is by requesting the use of a bucket and cloth instead of running water when cleaning the car.

Encourage the driver or person responsible for washing the car to adopt this method, as it significantly reduces water waste.

Similarly, when it comes to maintaining outdoor areas, suggest to the housemaid to sweep the yard periodically rather than using excessive amounts of water on a daily basis.

By sweeping away dust and debris instead of pouring liters of water, we can conserve a considerable amount of this precious resource.

Furthermore, being mindful of our water usage in our daily routines is crucial.

While showering or brushing our teeth, it is essential to avoid running the water continuously.

Simply turning off the tap while lathering or brushing can save a significant amount of water over time.

Additionally, considering shorter showers and refraining from taking excessive baths can further contribute to conserving water resources.

4. Reuse or return hangers obtained from laundry places to minimize waste.

Most Saudi families rely on professional laundry services to clean and iron their traditional garments such as thobes, abayas, and ghutras.

These garments are often returned to the owners neatly hung on hangers and enclosed in plastic bags.

Surprisingly, many people tend to discard these hangers, contributing to unnecessary waste.

However, there is a simple solution: don’t throw these hangers away!

For OFWs and expats living in Saudi Arabia, it’s important to be mindful of sustainable practices.

Instead of letting these hangers go to waste, consider reusing them at home or, if not needed, return them to the cleaners.

By doing so, you actively participate in minimizing waste and promoting a more sustainable approach to recycling in Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, when utilizing laundry services, you can request to have multiple thobes or clothing items placed inside a single bag, eliminating the need for excessive plastic wrappings.

Let’s take the initiative to recycle and think green by embracing these simple actions, starting with the return of laundry hangers.

5. Buy second-hand clothing and furniture to reduce the demand for new items and promote recycling.

Buying second-hand clothing and furniture is an effective way to reduce the demand for new items and promote recycling, both in Saudi Arabia and globally.

Expatriates and OFWs residing in Saudi Arabia can easily apply this practice to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle.

In Saudi Arabia, there are various platforms available for purchasing used goods, catering to the diverse expatriate community.

Websites like expatriates.com and haraj.com (Arabic) offer a wide range of second-hand items for sale.

Additionally, those residing in Riyadh can explore the Princess Souk (Haraj bin Gasem), a bustling market where one can find a plethora of pre-owned items that cater to every need and imagination.

By opting for second-hand goods, OFWs and expats can actively participate in reducing waste, conserving resources, and promoting a circular economy, all while enjoying the affordability and uniqueness that comes with these recycled treasures.

6. Manage your waste effectively by learning about recycling practices in Saudi Arabia and following proper waste disposal guidelines.

Managing your waste effectively is crucial for a sustainable environment, and this includes learning about recycling practices in Saudi Arabia and following proper waste disposal guidelines.

Whether you are an OFW or an expat residing in Saudi Arabia, you can actively contribute to this effort.

One practical way is to familiarize yourself with the recycling facilities available in your area.

For example, in Riyadh, there is a recycling center in the central part of the city that accepts various types of waste, including plastic bottles, paper, metal, glass, clothes, batteries, and old appliances.

They even offer scheduled pick-ups for larger furniture and household appliances.

By utilizing such centers and collection points, OFWs and expats can responsibly dispose of their waste and ensure that recyclable materials are properly recycled.

This not only helps reduce landfill waste but also promotes a circular economy where resources are reused and conserved.

Remember, taking small steps like these can collectively make a significant impact on preserving the environment in Saudi Arabia.

7. Cut back on the use of tissues (mandeel) to reduce paper waste.

Cutting back on the use of tissues (mandeel) is an effective way to reduce paper waste and contribute to a more sustainable environment.

This is especially relevant for OFWs and expats residing in Saudi Arabia.

As an OFW or expat, you can apply sustainable practices by consciously reducing your consumption of tissues.

Take a moment to reflect on whether you truly need to use them as frequently as they are commonly used in Saudi Arabia.

One simple step is to substitute tissues with towels for drying hands and place them conveniently in different areas of your home.

For cleaning tasks, opt for reusable wipes and rags instead of disposable tissues.

When drying surfaces, reach for washable kitchen cloths instead of tissue paper.

Additionally, it’s essential to avoid purchasing scented tissues, as these often contribute to environmental destruction.

By embracing these small changes, OFWs and expats can actively contribute to minimizing paper waste and promoting a more environmentally friendly lifestyle in Saudi Arabia.

8. Avoid styrofoam packaging and straws, as they are not environmentally friendly and contribute to pollution.

Avoiding styrofoam packaging and straws is crucial for preserving the environment and reducing pollution.

This is especially important for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and expats in Saudi Arabia who may encounter these materials in their daily lives.

Styrofoam, or polystyrene, not only poses significant harm to the environment but also has negative health implications.

Many countries have already banned its use due to its non-biodegradable nature.

When styrofoam ends up in landfills, it breaks down into microscopic particles that can be carried by wind and water into oceans.

This has a detrimental impact on marine life, as these particles are consumed by plankton, fish, and eventually humans.

Therefore, when ordering takeout or dining out, it’s important to request alternative, environmentally sustainable packaging options.

Choose restaurants that utilize biodegradable materials like paper-based or plant-based packaging instead.

Additionally, when shopping for groceries, opt for items wrapped in plastic wrap instead of styrofoam.

By consciously avoiding styrofoam and plastic packaging, and minimizing the use of plastic straws, OFWs and expats can play an active role in reducing pollution and promoting a healthier environment.

9. Support the local economy and reduce carbon emissions by buying locally produced goods, avoiding imported items.

Supporting the local economy and reducing carbon emissions by buying locally produced goods is not only beneficial for the environment but also for the overall well-being of the community.

This applies to both Saudi residents and expatriates, including OFWs and other expats living in the Kingdom.

For OFWs and expats, there are several ways to apply this principle.

Firstly, they can explore local markets, grocery stores, and food cooperatives that offer a wide range of locally sourced products.

By purchasing fruits, vegetables, bread, meat, and other food items produced within Saudi Arabia, they can support local farmers and businesses while also enjoying fresh, high-quality products.

Additionally, OFWs and expats can actively seek out organic produce, which is often cultivated using sustainable farming practices.

This choice not only supports local farmers who prioritize environmentally friendly methods but also promotes healthier food options for individuals and their families.

It is important to note that imported goods often come with higher price tags due to transportation costs and import taxes.

By opting for locally produced goods, OFWs and expats can save money while still accessing a variety of fresh and nutritious options.

Moreover, buying locally reduces carbon emissions associated with long-distance transportation.

By decreasing the demand for imported goods, individuals contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly supply chain, as well as minimizing the environmental impact caused by shipping and logistics.

10. Take responsibility for your surroundings and environment by refraining from throwing trash on the streets, beaches, oceans, or deserts.

Take responsibility for your surroundings and environment by refraining from throwing trash on the streets, beaches, oceans, or deserts.

This is a crucial mindset shift that applies not only to the local population but also to OFWs and expats living in Saudi Arabia.

It is essential for everyone to understand that the notion of someone else picking up their trash is a misconception.

In reality, the trash will remain there, causing harm to the environment. Animals may spread it, and the wind can further disperse waste, polluting the area.

Even though there are street cleaners present in cities, dressed in their yellow uniforms, this should not be an excuse to litter.

It is a collective responsibility for everyone to clean up after themselves.

Discarding trash out of car windows or leaving it behind at picnic spots is simply unacceptable and disrespectful to the environment and the community.

As an expat or OFW, it is important to embrace a mindset of environmental responsibility and set a positive example.

Reflect on the fact that the culture of trashing beautiful places and littering the streets is a relatively recent phenomenon that emerged with the discovery of oil and the increased reliance on domestic help in Saudi families.

By consciously avoiding littering and properly disposing of waste, you contribute to preserving the natural beauty of Saudi Arabia and promoting a cleaner and healthier environment for all.

11. Implement composting at home to turn organic waste into nutrient-rich soil for plants.

Implementing composting at home is an effective way to transform organic waste into nutrient-rich soil, benefiting both the environment and your own garden or plants.

This practice is not limited to residents of Saudi Arabia but can also be embraced by OFWs and expatriates living in the country.

Regardless of the size of your living space, composting can be adapted to suit different situations.

For OFWs and expats living in apartments, indoor composting systems such as vermicomposting using earthworms can be utilized.

This method requires minimal space and allows for the decomposition of kitchen scraps and other organic materials.

Those with access to outdoor areas or gardens can opt for traditional composting methods, such as creating compost piles or using compost bins.

By engaging in composting, OFWs and expats can actively contribute to waste reduction, improve soil quality, and nurture their own green spaces while being away from home.

12. Support recycling initiatives and programs by actively participating and encouraging others to recycle, creating a more sustainable and greener Saudi Arabia.

As OFWs and expats living in the country, there are several ways we can actively participate and encourage recycling.

Firstly, we can make a conscious effort to segregate our waste and dispose of recyclable materials in designated recycling bins or centers.

By familiarizing ourselves with the local recycling guidelines and facilities, we can ensure that our waste is properly recycled.

Additionally, we can join or volunteer with local environmental organizations or community groups that promote recycling and organize awareness campaigns.

Sharing our knowledge and experiences with friends, colleagues, and neighbors can also be impactful in encouraging others to adopt recycling practices.

By collectively supporting recycling initiatives, we contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment for ourselves and future generations in Saudi Arabia.

Video: A New Era of Recycling Starts Now in Saudi Arabia

In this video, we take you on a virtual tour of the SIRC Construction & Demolition Waste Recycling Facility in Riyadh.

Discover the innovative processes and cutting-edge technology employed at this state-of-the-art facility, dedicated to effectively managing construction and demolition waste.

Learn how SIRC is committed to sustainable practices, from sorting and segregating materials to recycling and repurposing them for future construction projects.

Gain insights into the significant environmental and economic benefits of recycling C&D waste, reducing landfill waste, and promoting a circular economy.

Learn more about this impressive facility and witness the positive impact it has on Riyadh’s sustainable development goals.


In conclusion, living an eco-friendly lifestyle in Saudi Arabia is not only important for preserving the country’s natural beauty but also for ensuring a sustainable future.

By implementing the above 12 easy and simple ways to recycle and conserve the environment that have been discussed, we can all play our part in making a positive impact.

Whether it’s reducing plastic bag usage, recycling water bottles, or supporting local produce, every action counts.

Remember, even the smallest changes in our daily habits can contribute to a larger wave of change when we all come together.

So, let’s embrace these practices and inspire others to join us on this journey toward a greener and more sustainable Saudi Arabia.

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