UAE: Get shopping rewards for throwing recyclable trash in new smart bins; here's how

More than 50 of these bins have been put up in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but you'll have to use the special garbage bags with QR codes; watch a demo video below


Waheed Abbas

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Photo: Screengrabs
Photo: Screengrabs

Published: Tue 19 Dec 2023, 1:04 PM

Last updated: Tue 19 Dec 2023, 10:47 PM

Segregating waste and collecting recyclable trash are some of the things residents can easily do for the environment. But, often, the question is — where should recyclables be deposited and where do they go?

Taking up the challenge of diverting waste from the landfills, a UAE startup has come up with a smart solution. The Abu Dhabi-based tech company Nadeera has deployed bins that can communicate and trash bags with QR codes for tracking.

More than 50 of these smart bins have put up in Dubai and Abu Dhabi — mainly in communities across JLT, JVC, Marina and Dubai South among others.

“These are smart bins with a chip in them," Rabih El Chaar, founder and CEO of Nadeera, told Khaleej Times. This means those looking to dump non-recyclable trash won't be able to open them.

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"It's an access-control bin. If somebody is walking by with a bag of general waste, they cannot open it and throw waste in it and contaminate our recyclables. In addition to that, it has, sensors in them. So whenever the bin is full, it will signal to us to come and pick it up," El Chaar explained.

Here's how the bins are used:

"Because waste management is a logistics business, and it's very important that we were able to do this exercise and do recycling in an economically sound manner."

How can you earn rewards

Besides helping residents go green, Nadeera also offers incentives through its app for recycling. This is made possible through its traceable bags.

Here's how the process goes:

  • Once the bin is full, the company dispatches a truck from one of its partners to collect the recyclables.
  • Then they're taken to the facility with each bag having a QR code on it.
  • The bags are scanned and then based on the quality of sorting that has been done, the users get their feedback and credits, which can be used at Carrefour or Talabat

“If you're recycling with us, I would know and give you incentives and rewards through the app for the effort that you are making for the environment," El Chaar said.

"If you are recycling, but making mistakes, then I will be interacting with you through the app telling you what the mistakes you're doing or we'll send you a reminder that it's been a while since you recycled with us."

Every transaction recorded

Nadeer's chief added that the entire system runs on artificial intelligence and blockchain processes.

“Every single transaction that takes place is registered live on a blockchain, which is an assurance that the waste actually is being diverted. We provide access to that blockchain to our partners, so they're able to monitor it and know that it cannot be changed. So this is an assurance for them that whenever they sponsor a project waste is getting diverted.”


COP28 success

Through its QR-code-equipped bags, the team recorded more than 10 tonnes of recyclables that were collected from the site in the first 10 days of the event.

“In terms of reducing emissions, many people do not really associate recycling with emission generation. For every ton of recyclables that is diverted from the landfill, it is equivalent to 3.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions that would have been emitted if you had to extract virgin material and manufacture these plastics, aluminium, paper and cardboard again. So it's a significant amount of reduction of CO2 emissions. So, it's kind of a low-hanging fruit in combating global warming and reducing emissions to do that,” El Chaar said.

Held from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai, COP28 was the most sustainable COP ever held, thanks to efforts put by the authorities, organisers and companies such as Nadeera.

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