Hassen Ben Jemii is a 36-year-old entrepreneur from Djerba with a passion for sustainable development. In 2017, he created Eco-Dec, an innovative company that collects and recycles waste, such as used cardboard, plastic, and cooking oil.
Hassen, who has a master's degree in business development and strong connections in Djerba’s entrepreneurship community, was well suited to take on this mission. Frustrated by ineffective waste management on the island, he decided to do what he could to support eco-friendly solutions in the sector.
Primarily, Eco-Dec processes, collects, and sorts cardboard and plastic waste, which is converted to material such as polyethylene terephthalate fiber for textiles or plastic jackets for electrical cables. It began by processing and selling this waste to other local waste management companies, such as waste-exporter TRVI, which finalizes the recycling process.
After two years in operation, Eco-Dec began expanding its portfolio and had opportunities to work directly with international waste management companies. To make this jump, however, Eco-Dec needed to implement international quality standards and improve its logistics and production planning.
Tunisia JOBS helped Eco-Dec obtain an international quality management certification (ISO 9001) and a new information system that provides reliable, real-time information to company managers, enabling it to optimize its collection processes and target export markets.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused additional setbacks for Eco-Dec, however. When the pandemic struck, Eco-Dec had to entirely halt its activities due to national closures and was forced to let go of two employees. During this precarious time, Hassen worried the that the entire company’s future was at risk. The company’s activities remained hampered for more than a year as hotels, which it collected much of its waste from, remained shut down.
As tourism gradually resumed and hotels reopened, JOBS awarded Eco-Dec a grant to purchase a plastic shredder and a cardboard press, enabling it to process waste more quickly and offer higher quality products ready for the final recycling stage. This doubled the company’s waste processing capacity, increased its profitability tenfold, and allowed it to expand its workforce from three to 15 employees.
"Our youth are aware of sustainable development challenges and are ready to seize new opportunities that come their way. We must support them and encourage them to develop their ideas and make their projects a reality. This is the only way for Tunisia to ensure its economic recovery.”
Hassen Ben Jemii
Founder and manager – Eco-Dec