Dubai's recycling programme treats over 8,000kg of waste every week

Under the Smart Sustainability Oasis project, 17 bins across the emirate collect 18 types of materials

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Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Mon 11 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 11 Dec 2023, 8:45 PM

Ever spotted a colourful recycling bin in Dubai and wondered what it does? Called the Smart Sustainability Oasis (SSO) project, these form the crux of the mammoth recycling programme that Dubai conducts to divert materials from landfills to reuse or recycle them. Every week, the Dubai Municipality (DM) collects an average of over 8000kg of recyclable materials from the 17 bins placed in various locations in the emirate.

“It is one of the municipality’s highly successful initiatives to advance environmental goals while exploring new ways of promoting a culture of waste segregation and recycling in collaboration with the local community,” said Saeed Abdul Rahim Safar, acting director of the Waste Operations Department at DM. “The project also helps meet national environmental targets in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Open 24x7, and recycling 18 different types of materials including metal and electronic waste, the community centres have diverted close to 2.5 million tonnes of waste from landfills since the project was launched in 2018.

These centres segregate waste at source, collecting recyclable materials to promote environmental sustainability and social responsibility. “The most significant outcome of these recycling stations is that it promotes the practice of waste segregation at source and reducing the amount of waste going to landfills, which in turn will help support the recycling industry in Dubai,” said Saeed.

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Recyclables are also collected from other projects, such as My City, My Environment and the NORD system. All collected recyclables are diverted to approved treatment and recycling plants and facilities, where they are transformed into new products.

Non-recyclable materials and byproducts of the treatment and recycling processes are diverted to the Warsan Waste-to-Energy Centre, where they are fed into digesters and converted into energy.

Designed with purpose

The recycling centres are designed with their purpose clear: Reuse and create a circular economy. The municipality recast old, abandoned shipping containers of 40 cubic metre capacity to make these bins, in keeping with environmental best practices and standards.

Each of the recycling centres boast a capacity of one tonne, using multicoloured containers to collect as many recyclable items as possible, including discarded electronic devices, used mobile phones and dry batteries. To track the quantity of materials collected, each container at the centre is provided with remote sensors. The centres make use of solar energy to meet their electricity needs.

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Each centre is equipped with cameras and audio devices to acknowledge users and convey thank you messages. It is also designed to make it accessible to people of determination. Customers don’t need to leave their vehicles at the centre so long as they take the designated entry and exit points.

According to Saeed, DM is actively looking to expand the recycling infrastructure throughout the emirate. “Under the Waste Recycle Materials Collection Centre initiative, the establishment of a novel recycling centre within the current year is on the horizon,” he said. The location for this new centre is being meticulously selected based on technical requirements and population density.


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