A 'ride' to safe disposal of e-waste
Customers could receive their complimentary pick up and drop off by using the "Uber recycle" option in their Uber account
Dubai - The service provided free Uber rides to collect unwanted e-goods and send them to the Al Quoz recycling depot
A campaign to promote, educate and highlight awareness on the importance of responsible recycling of ewaste in the UAE was recently carried out jointly by Dubai Science Park, Dubai Internet City, Uber UAE, and Averda.
The campaign works in line with the Year of Giving, and the UAE's incentive to have zero landfill waste by 2030, supported by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. The companies set up a service in seven selective areas in Dubai, to recycle old or unwanted electronics conveniently and appropriately for consumers.
The service provided free Uber rides to collect these unwanted egoods and send them to the Al Quoz depot through Averda, to be taken apart and rearranged into separate units of similarity. For instance metals, liquids and plastics all needed to be detached from each other before they could be recycled.
Customers could receive their complimentary pick up and drop off by using the "Uber recycle" option in their Uber account, or by downloading the app for the first time. The hours for this service ran from July 2 to 4 between 10am-2pm, specifically for residents and business partners in seven selective communities - Dubai Science Park, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Outsource City areas.
The project aimed to make sustainable tasks like recycling as simple as possible for people. Christopher Free, general manager of Uber UAE, said: "The overriding goal was to reach as many people possible and collect as much e-waste that could be recycled."
Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, executive director of Dubai Science Park, said: "We want people to be able to dispose of their retired gadgets in a simple way, whilst ensuring our environment is being protected.
According to Averda, recycling e-waste in particular can be difficult due to the presence of hazardous chemicals. The campaign hoped to make that easier for the consumer by raising awareness of the harmful issues and make people realise how much e-waste they actually have.
Andrea Skeritt, company representative of Averda, emphasised: "All electronics are harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly. However, electronics with any liquid toxic components such as mercury, cadmium, and lithium - such as batteries - can be especially harmful. The latest products, mainly computer screens, tend to not have these elements, but older units do, which is why it's important to dispose of them properly and showcase this to consumers through this campaign."
After questioning the team as to why this was not a "free for all" set up, the answer was that "we are at the education and awareness phase now - our focus is to make consumers aware about proper e-waste disposal. If we can really educate everyone in using the service, we would be able to do it more often and on a larger scale. These seven communities were chosen specifically as they all focused on technology and media and so we felt their e-waste output would be higher than other areas."
There was also curiosity about why the campaign was just on b2b and not b2c.
Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, executive director at Dubai Science Park, said: "It would be wrong to say that we are only focused on businesses. Yet, you will find businesses producing higher amounts of e-waste compared to individual households.
"But, most of our business communities have a residential element and we have actively encouraged participants across the entire community spectrum to get involved. We are gradually starting to build awareness and education regarding recycling and e-waste recycling in particular, in the UAE."
This isn't Uber's first such campaign. In 2015, they started out in Lebanon, with four vans helping clear rubbish from peoples homes in Beirut. They then rolled out the first e-waste campaign last year with Averda, collecting over 60kgs of unwanted electronic items.
On July 3, approximately 21 drives were made Uber cars full to the brim with e-waste. "We would love to beat last years total!" Free emphasised.
Muhammad Hussain Rehmat Ali, an Uber driver, on being asked if he was chosen for the incentive, replied: "I put myself up for it; I like to do charity work, and it's a great campaign."