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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

RAK marks Earth Day with plans to double recycling with six new plants

Emirate aims to increase recycling volume from 14 to 75 per cent by 2021

The Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Agency has launched six recycling centres to encourage residents to recycle and repurpose their items. Courtesy Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Agency
The Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Agency has launched six recycling centres to encourage residents to recycle and repurpose their items. Courtesy Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Agency

Ever wondered what to do with those old plates or cutlery you no longer want, but cannot be bothered to sell?

If you live in Ras Al Khaimah, there is now an answer.

The Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Agency launched six recycling locations on Saturday to help divert more of its waste away from landfill. And some include drop off centres for household items people no longer need.

Just 14 per cent of RAK’s waste is currently recycled – a number it hopes to increase to 30 per cent this year, and to 75 per cent by 2021.

The expansion is timely, with April 22 officially marked as international Earth Day.

The global environmental movement attracts more than 1 billion people to adopt consumer campaigns, public policy and educational programmes to promote green initiatives. A key theme of 2018 is to reduce plastic use around the world.

RAK aims to reach its ambitious target by distributing recycling bags to all residents before the end of June – which include green bags for the collection of recyclables such as plastics, paper, cardboard, cans and glass bottles, and brown bags for food waste.

“The [recycling drop off centres] are for people who maybe have too many recyclables, or if you just have extra stuff like batteries, electronics or lightbulbs that don’t go into the regular bags that we have provided for residents,” said Sonia Nasser, executive director of the Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Agency.

In addition, the emirate is encouraging people to use the six new locations to dispose of even more items they cannot put in their green and brown bags.

The locations – which are housed in repurposed shipping containers – include two recycling drop off centres for household items in the parking lots at RAK Mall and Saqr Park.

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Read more:

RAK launches initiative to cut waste by 75 per cent by 2021

National Editorial: How to inspire better recycling

How to get rid of your e-waste in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah

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Residents can also drop off items that still have some life in them, such as dishes they no longer want.

“Maybe you have something you have something you want to throw away but you can’t figure out if it’s still valuable to someone else. So we are leaving a place for people to drop off household products and then someone else can take them if they need them,” added Ms Nasser.

The remaining locations are food waste treatment centres at Al Hamra Mall, the RAK Vegetable Market and the Mairid Fish Market, while there will be an outreach centre and food bank on the Corniche.

Experts say food waste which ends up in landfills is a major contributor to climate change due to leachate generation, greenhouse gas emissions and space consumption. In addition, it is very bulky.

“Of all the things you throw out the food waste is the heaviest. It’s a weight game,” said Ms Nasser.

“We are hoping to remind people to shop wisely and not to throw away so much food. And so we are thinking if we can go after the organics, the food waste, that will help our diversion numbers as well. And [we want to show that] fruits, vegetables, fish or meat then that can be a soil amendment.”