x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Abu Dhabi recycling initiative spreads

Special bins are being distributed by the Centre of Waste Management as part of a door-to-door collection initiative that is to be expanded across the emirate.

Brigitte Arrouays at her villa in Abu Dhabi’s Al Nahyan Camp. Her family is one of a growing number who now recycle their rubbish as part of the Centre of Waste Management’s expanding recycling drive. Christopher Pike / The National
Brigitte Arrouays at her villa in Abu Dhabi’s Al Nahyan Camp. Her family is one of a growing number who now recycle their rubbish as part of the Centre of Waste Management’s expanding recycling drive. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // About 90 per cent of villa communities on Abu Dhabi island are now covered by waste-recycling programmes.

Special bins are being distributed by the Centre of Waste Management as part of a door-to-door collection initiative that is to be expanded across the emirate.

The centre started providing the 240-litre bins in September 2011, and now there are more than 30,000 of the green and black bins in villa communities.

We visited several areas of the capital to find out whether residents were aware of the recycling initiative and how to use the bins.

Not everyone realised they were for segregating rubbish because the centre has largely left residents to decipher the process on their own.

Most were learning about the plan from the colour of the bins and the pictures on top, which show what items to place in them.

Non-recyclable waste, such as discarded food, cleaning sponges, cigarettes and general rubbish, goes in the black bins. The green bins should be used for glass bottles, cans, paper and plastic.

"I always segregate at home and put the waste in two separate bags before dumping in these bins," said Brigitte Arrouays, from France, who lives in Al Nahyan Camp. "I have two different bins in my kitchen for recyclable and non-recyclable waste."

She said she had not received any leaflets or information from the centre but had made her children aware of the difference between the green and black bins.

She was surprised to learn rubbish collectors put all the waste in one vehicle after residents have separated it, and hoped the centre was collecting waste like this only until residents had been fully educated about the programme.

The centre said that although rubbish was collected at once, it was separated at the plant for recycling.

When we surveyed villa communities in January, we discovered residents were not aware of the recycling plan. Now, many have started to separate their rubbish.

Thomas Topolski, from the United States, said he welcomed the recycling initiative and was aware of waste separation plans.

"I always do it at home before putting it in the bins," he said. "In our country, everybody is familiar with these things, which are getting popular here. It is a good move towards preserving the environment."

Mumtaz Moosankunnumal, from India, said: "My children also know about green and black because it's a part of education about how to save the environment and how we can contribute."

The centre said 33,000 tonnes of waste were generated in the emirate each day, about two-thirds of which comes from building and demolition companies.

The centre aims to cut waste by 70 per cent by 2015 and 80 per cent by 2018.

It says it tries, through continuing campaigns, to spread the message that segregating waste at home will help to save the environment and build a sustainable future.

It has no timetable for achieving complete coverage of the island but said that it planned to reach its goal of a sustainable future through education and awareness campaigns and events.

anwar@thenational.ae