UAE: Security guard wins iPhone 15 after recycling 1,600 plastic bottles in a week

He was looking to upgrade his iPhone 8, but never got around to it


Sahim Salim


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 10:45 PM

A security guard in the UAE has been rewarded with a brand-new iPhone 15 for leading a greener lifestyle. The Nepalese expat recycled nearly 1,600 plastic bottles in a week to bag the prize.

Dipesh Chamlagain got into the act when technology company Renie set up a smart bin at his workplace.

“I have never liked how people just throw plastic away without considering how it harms the environment,” the expat told Khaleej Times. “I started collecting and recycling the bottles, with help from the housekeeping staff.”

Chamlagain was looking to upgrade his iPhone 8, but never got around to it. “Now I have the newest model.”

The guard said he would continue recycling bottles, but this time on behalf of his colleagues. “They deserve a chance to win too,” he added.

Renie has installed over 1,000 smart bins across the UAE. “We put them in residential towers, offices and malls. For example, you can find our bins at the Burj Khalifa, Wafi Mall, or the Digital Government of Ajman office.”

Once a user recycles a bottle, it is registered his/her account. “We believe in incentivised recycling. So, each time users recycle a bottle, they receive a raffle ticket via the Renie app. One bottle equals one ticket,” said Sander Van Waes, founder of the company.

Sander Van Waes
Sander Van Waes

Though the bins have been around for about six months, the platform gained thousands of new users when the company announced raffles at the beginning of this month. Participants have won a PlayStation 5, wireless earbuds and fitness trackers. “A lot of the new users who came for the prizes… formed a habit, and continue to recycle with us every day.

“We are not sponsored by anyone and the choice of the prizes… is based on our budget, user activity, and their preferences,” said Van Waes.

The next raffle will see a winner go home with another iPhone 15.

How the smart bins work

Bottles deposited in Renie's smart bins are registered in the system. “When the bin is full, we receive a signal which we pass to (a) … waste management company in the area. The collected plastic is sold to recyclers.

“What we do is provide waste management companies with clean feedstock so they don't need to organise manual sorting. Waste management companies store it and then sell this plastic to recyclers who transform it into raw materials which are used to create products,” explained Van Waes.


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