x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Abu Dhabi companies to be charged for waste disposal

Tariff will be based on the size of businesses and the amount of waste produced, with funds raised going towards waste management projects in the emirate.

Businesses in Abu Dhabi will soon have to pay a tariff to dump their refuse in an effort to improve the emirate's waste management and encourage companies to recycle.

The fees will be levied by the Centre for Waste Management - Abu Dhabi from January through a new programme, Nadhafa, which is designed to "monitor, control and record all waste-related activities in the emirate".

The centre said the tariff would be based on the size of each business and the amount of waste it produced. Funds raised would go towards financing waste management projects in the emirate.

Most of Abu Dhabi's industrial and commercial waste is currently deposited free of charge into rapidly expanding landfills often unable to contain all pollutants safely. The emirate unveiled its first plant equipped to handle construction debris this year. It is still developing its first hazardous waste facility.

Industry sources said the scheme would involve issuing licences to businesses on an annual basis. To obtain a licence, companies would have to reveal their size, structure, type of product, what type of work they do and other details that would influence what rate they paid. Companies that recycle would be charged less.

Cameron Marland, the assistant general manager at Zenath Recycling and Waste Management, said: "This is the first stage in regulating the whole sector. This is really the first initiative [of this kind] I have seen in the region. It is very forward-thinking."

The move should boost interest in recycling at the industrial and commercial level, as companies look to save money on tariffs, he said. In the short run, however, some businesses would suffer. Glass, for example, often ends up in landfill because recycling it is often not seen as economically viable.

"If you are a glass company, you will have a big problem," he said.

On the other hand, the tariffs could provide an incentive for recyclers to accept more materials.

Samer Kamal, the managing director of the Sharjah-based Bee'ah, said the tariff would drive home the point to companies that waste management came with a cost.

"We are all responsible for waste, so we should all be responsible for managing it," he said.

Stuart Fleming, the managing director of EnviroServe, the only UAE company that recycles refrigerant gases and the only authorised recycler of electronic waste, said the tariff would be "a stimulant for the recycling industry in the UAE".

"These kinds of tariffs have been in place for some time in developed and some developing countries and I think it is a positive step," he said.

Dubai already charges companies Dh10 per lorry load to dump waste at landfills. In Europe, where landfills are designed to meet higher environmental protection criteria, it costs on average €60 (Dh286) per tonne.

vtodorova@thenational.ae