ABU DHABI // Diamonds, private jets and haute couture are associated with a celebrity lifestyle. Now, a group of UAE professionals is attempting to add recycling to the must-have list.
The green message will be launched at the A-Lounge celebrity suite at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which opens today. In the lounge, VIP attendees will receive a reusable shopping bag and a custom-designed "green" T-shirt - along with designer sunglasses, abayas, gold jewellery and chocolates made from camel milk.
Mohammed Sultan al Habtoor, an Emirati designer and founder of fashion label House of Glamo, was commissioned to make the recycling message trendy by Bee'ah, a Sharjah-based recycling company. "We decided to keep it simple," Mr al Habtoor said of the T-shirt design, which features the recycling logo reworked into a heart. Mr al Habtoor, who suggested 18 designs for the project, is famous for tongue-in-cheek T-shirt slogans, such as "Leave Lamees Alone", a reference to Dr Lamees Hamdan's appearance on Oprah Winfrey's television show last year.
Initially, he was looking for a shocking message for the recycling campaign, too. "I was thinking of a bloody approach to scare people," he said, adding that the need to act on protecting the environment "is so serious that if we don't take care of it now, future generations will suffer". However, in the end a more measured approach was agreed upon. Samer Kamal, the managing director of Bee'ah, said that the company wanted to focus on a positive message that associates recycling with an aspirational lifestyle.
"We know the attraction to celebrity events is substantial," he said. "We are trying to use every medium possible to reach the community ... we hope this can be a galvanizing message." Recycling is not common in the UAE, and only recently is infrastructure necessary to support the practice being planned and built. Abu Dhabi launched a recycling initiative earlier this year, but it has yet to have much of an impact.
Mr Kamal said that raising awareness about the benefits of recycling should still be a priority in the UAE."Recycling an aluminium [drink] can, for example, saves enough energy to power a laptop for three hours," said Mr Kamal. "For aluminium to be formed from ore is such an energy-intensive process," he said.