x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Abu Dhabi plan to recycle waste

Demolition waste makes up six million tonnes of overall waste in Abu Dhabi emirate, and the Centre of Waste Management is trying to find a way to monetise that.

ABU DHABI // The Centre of Waste Management (CWM) has been looking at ways to attract more buyers for its recycled construction and demolition debris.

Each year the centre recycles three of the 10 million tonnes of construction waste produced in the emirate. Demolition waste makes up six million tonnes alone.

Sixty per cent of the waste is recycled; only a few years ago it was all dumped in landfills. It is re-used for road construction, footpaths, playgrounds and sports areas.

John Schneider, contracts specialist at the CWM, said: "We are going to make it attractive enough for them to buy these materials."

Subsidising the costs is being considered. There are definite cost benefits to selling the waste. Mr Schneider cited an example at a plastics recycling facility in Al Ain.

"If we take HDP or high density polyethylene materials, we can sell that material at Dh5,509 per tonne. It's significant," he said.

The centre aims to minimise environmental and health pollution risks associated with the storage, collection and disposal of construction debris.

There are two facilities for construction demolitions, in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, which recycle about 30 per cent (3 million tonnes) of total waste per year. The centre is trying to further increase its capacity.

"We take that waste from the green bins to the sorting plant," Mr Schneider said. "Then they are properly segregated and sorted and then properly built to be sold off for revenues."

He could not estimate how much revenue is generated yearly.

Using this kind of collection system, about 50 per cent of waste is diverted from the landfills to the recycling plants.

"It's a benefit because it's a cost recovery," he said. "It's a benefit because these materials are not going to landfills. If it goes to landfills it creates harmful green house gas emissions."

Recyclable waste is lighter than organic waste. Most of recyclable materials come from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, as opposed to the Western Region which has an agricultural environment.

Al Ain represents just 12 per cent of the waste generated in the emirate; Abu Dhabi produces close to 90 per cent.

According to the centre, some 33,000 tonnes of waste is generated in the emirate each day. Of that, 22,000 to 24,000 tonnes are generated from construction and demolition firms. The goal is to reduce waste by 80 per cent by 2018.

The centre's mandate is to divert polluting waste away from landfills and maximise resource recovery.

Al Dhafra landfill in Abu Dhabi is the largest, and covers four square kilometres. Refuse rises 20 metres high.

The Abu Dhabi tyre plant receives around 50,000 tonnes of tyres per year, and the Al Ain facility processes around 20,000 tonnes.

Some of these tyres are re-manufactured into tyre and rubber products. The rubber is also used in making playgrounds and sporting facilities.

anwar@thenational.ae