Make use of disposed products, say green experts
In a nutshell: Waste doesn't have to go to waste.
Environmental experts have urged both public and private sectors for resource constraints by actively promoting 'circular economy' or bringing waste full circle, based on the concept of recycling.
Panelists at a discussion organised by the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), in association with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), on Wednesday said that addressing sustainable consumption means "investing for a clean, efficient and circular economy by utilising the energy trapped within the disposed products." In a nutshell: Waste doesn't have to go to waste.
"Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume," Habiba Al Mar'ashi, EEG chairperson, said.
"The notion of circular economy has emerged as a beacon for moving away from the take-make-dispose culture, allowing for the efficient management of our shared natural resources and safe disposal of toxic waste and pollutants, contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 12 for sustainable consumption and production."
Other panelists said it is feasible and commercially viable to implement circular economy initiatives in the UAE by attracting long term investment for resource efficiency and providing incentives from the government to encourage corporations and individuals to become part of the shift from the linear economic model.
Heba Saleh Abdulhameed Akasha, Engineer I - Environment at Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), said it is their company's "long term aspiration to ultimately turn all of its industry by-products into feedstock for other industries."
She said that the EGA has already found an economic re-use for its spent pot lining, by supplying it to cement plants in the UAE as a useful source of fuel and refractory materials. EGA has also been supplying carbon dust from its Jebel Ali smelter as an alternative fuel for the cement industry.
Another environmental champion, Matteo Boffa, CEO and co-founder of ETUIX, an innovative luxury goods producer, said PVC (polyvinyl chloride) advertising posters can be transformed into purses, bags, shoes, belts and other items.
In Dubai alone, over 500,000 kg of PVC material is destroyed every year, which is equivalent to over 3 million kg of CO2 emissions produced, according to Boffa.
"PVC materials like posters or banners, at the end of their life cycle can be transformed into other materials . Implementing the notion of circular economy combines an ecological philosophy, passion for fashion, design and creativity," he emphasised.
For her part, Sonya Benjamin, senior environmental consultant at AESG, an engineering specialist consultancy firm, described circular economy as the "low-hanging fruit" that could boost the economy locally.
Dr Sassan Dieter Khatib-Shahidi, CEO and executive director of German Imaging Technologies Dubai, meanwhile, provided evidence on the considerable cost savings and job opportunities associated with circular economy.
He said they were able to thousands of jobs through remanufacturing operations, including recycling the ordinary printer cartridges.
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