Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Al Ain compost plant recycles plastic, glass bottles, plants and all other rubbish.
Al Ain compost plant recycles plastic, glass bottles, plants and all other rubbish.

Al Ain recycler leads by local example

The new plant to be ready by May is set to minimise the need to export plastics to India and China for processing, thereby cutting transportation costs and reducing ecological impact.

ABU DHABI // The opening of a plastics processing plant in Al Ain next year will close an important gap in the way the UAE recycling market operates and reduce the country's environmental footprint, experts say.

Some types of recyclable plastic waste are exported as far as China or India, where they are processed and re-imported into the UAE.

But once the new Al Ain plant opens in May, the entire process will be handled locally, said Robin Dawson, who manages the project.

"The plastic recycling plant is a natural step in further improving the efficiency and effectiveness of recycling in Al Ain," Mr Dawson said. "This means that unnecessary transportation is minimised or eliminated completely, massively reducing the environmental impact of the recycling process."

Work will begin soon on the facility, located next to the plant where the city's waste is processed now. That plant receives up to 900 tonnes of mixed waste from Al Ain's households every day.

Once there, the waste is processed so various recyclable materials, including as much as a daily 63 tonnes of plastics - 50 of which will be recycled - can be separated and eventually sold.

The plastics recycling project was developed by the Centre of Waste Management - Abu Dhabi, and a private company, Emirates Environmental Technology, which is also managing the existing waste facilities in Al Ain on behalf of the centre.

The new plastics plant will have two production lines, each capable of processing 25 tonnes of material per day. It will focus on two types of plastic waste: plastic film, such as that used to make bags, and HDPE (high-density polyethylene), which goes into items like shampoo bottles.

"We can increase this as the amount of in-feed material goes up," Mr Dawson said.

This is the second time that new features have been added to the waste facility, which opened in 1978 as a compost plant to process leftovers from agriculture and landscaping. In September 2008, a waste-sorting plant opened to extract recyclable materials from mixed municipal waste.

The facility composts about 400 tonnes of organic waste daily and diverts from landfill as much as 70 per cent of municipal waste. Lorries carry rubbish from Al Ain to the complex in Sanaiya, approximately 30 minutes from the town centre.

The sorting process entails waste being fed through two large machines that break it down. It then goes through large drum screens, where it is divided into three streams, based on size.

The smallest particles are mostly organic. They are brought via a conveyor belt to the facility's composting plant.

The remaining waste goes through conveyor belts, where workers manually pick out bits that can be recycled. The waste is divided into various components: clear and coloured plastic bags go into separate heaps with other types of plastic including HDPE bottles, clear beverage bottles and green beverage bottles. There are separate heaps for aluminium cans, paper and cardboard.

Except for steel, which is separated by a magnet, all other recyclable materials are picked out manually. The recycled pieces go down a chute and end up in heaps with similar material, which is then baled together for storage, pending sale to traders and recyclers.

Although the new plastics project is not directly related to a consumer recycling campaign that the centre launched this spring to encourage residents to separate waste, such efforts by residents will definitely help the new plant, Mr Dawson said.

"Any sorting done before the material reaches here will help," he said. "It means we will be quicker and more effective."

Ghadeer el Kheshen, a public relations specialist at the centre, said the consumer recycling scheme, running in four districts of Al Ain and two in Abu Dhabi, would be expanded but she had no further details.

 

vtodorova@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National