Persian Gulf States Go For Plastic Recycling


Three new recycling bins at the Fujairah Women’s College in the United Arab Emirates. Photo via Experiencing the Emirates

Plastic recycling is making inroads in Abu Dhabi, where a pilot program in the city of Al Ain that has students collecting and compressing up to 50,000 water bottles a month could be expanded nationwide next year, eventually encompassing up to a fourth of the Gulf state's schools.Rajnish Sinha, general manager of Horizon Technologies, one of the two corporate sponsors of the pilot program, told the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National that the United Arab Emirates consumes around 80,000 of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the main material used to make plastic bottles, every year--enough to manufacture 3.2 billion bottles.

Ten schools are currently participating in the pilot program, in which plastic bottles are collected, compressed with a Hungarian-invented device that "uses heat to shrink a bottle to ten per cent of its [original] size" (presumably to minimize transportation costs), and then transported to a Horizon recycling facility, the UAE's first for PET plastics, based in Fujairah, one of the other emirates.

The other sponsor of the school program, the Al Ain Mineral Water Company, says it is interested in incorporating the recycled plastic into its products down the road, but has made no commitments yet to do so. There's something that doesn't sit quite right about companies running programs in schools, but with most of the UAE lacking municipal recycling programs, I guess someone has to pick up the slack.

Horizon, which holds the UAE distribution rights for the compression device, is also involved in an Oman-based project to set up PET drop-off bins at residential and commercial complexes, restaurants, and universities. That effort is perhaps the most ambitious yet in the emirates, leading Fujairah-based ex-pat blogger Geoff Pound to note with some irony that

Oman is moving strenuously in recycling and using Fujairah facilities while Fujairah is lagging behind when it has a twenty-first century recycling plant at its own back door. While there are recycling bins that have been placed at one or two educational institutions such as the Fujairah Women’s College (HCT) ... only the ardent environmentalists will take their plastics and newspapers to the HCT College. Bins are needed alongside the existing rubbish skips and within easy reach of every home.

Via: "Children lead the way in recycling," The National
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Austin, Texas Considers Banning Plastic Bottles, Mandating Recycling at Large Public Events Such as South By Southwest
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Tags: Bottled Water | Plastics | Recycling

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