Blue and green bins will encourage Sharjah residents to separate their rubbish for recycling.
Recycling campaign urges people to 'go blue'
SHARJAH // A new-look recycling scheme is urging people living in Sharjah to "go blue" when they dispose of their waste.
Each year the emirate produces hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste, most of which ends up in landfills.
Now bosses at Sharjah municipality and Bee'ah, the emirate's environmental company, are hoping bins - blue for recycling and green for general waste - will encourage people to separate their rubbish and do their bit for the environment.
As part of the new Residential Recycling Programme, 2,000 of the blue and green bins will be installed in residential areas from next week, and hopefully across the entire emirate by the end of the year.
Rubbish such as paper, cardboard, glass, plastics and aluminium can be recycled and reused at plants in the emirate, said Salim Al Owais, the chairman of Bee'ah.
"Every year Sharjah households generate about 600,000 tonnes of waste, of which we are recovering a small percentage for recycling and the rest goes to landfill," Mr Al Owais said.
"This figure will drastically reduce with the Residential Recycling Programme, boosting an increase of 5 to 10 per cent towards our target.
"We are reaching more than 40 per cent and need every per cent in order to reach our objective of 100 per cent of waste recycled by 2015."
Khaled Al Huraimel, the chief executive of Bee'ah, said the programme would be phased in.
"We have a goal to get this scheme fully rolled out by the end of 2012, but if all goes to plan we could see 75 per cent of residents in Sharjah benefiting from it as early as July," Mr Al Huraimel said.
Al Shahba will be the first neighbourhood to receive the new bins. It was chosen due to the variety of commercial and residential buildings, as well as schools and mosques, and its diverse population of high and low-income families.
Soon after, Bee'ah will install the bins in Al Khezammia area, followed by Halwan.
To further push the environmental message, homeowners will be given a starter kit of blue and green bin liners to help make separating their rubbish easier.
"Education is key," said Mr Al Huraimel. "It certainly will be a big change for some, so Bee'ah will be providing informative tools to raise awareness and help answer questions.
"Residents have already responded very well to previous recycling schemes and we are sure people in Sharjah will embrace the new programme."
Volunteers will assist with door-to-door training in each neighbourhood as the programme spreads around the emirate.
An extensive media campaign called "Separate, it's already a habit" will show residents that separating things is already a part of their day-to-day lives, with images including those of people sorting whites from coloured clothes before washing.
Sultan Al Mualla, the director general of Sharjah Municipality, said the authority would consider fines and penalties for those who do not separate rubbish.
Bee'ah also plans to use new collection and cleaning vehicles to wash and clean bins after each collection to prevent bad smells.
"Our aim is to constantly look for ways to improve the current system in order to deliver the best cleaning and waste collection services for the Sharjah community," said Mr Al Huraimel.
"Acquiring these new vehicles and installing the new bins helps us accomplish just that."
Footpaths will be re-engineered in collaboration with the municipality to accommodate the binsand avoid traffic disruptions, he said.
"For unpaved roads, the current metal bins will be restored and painted in blue and green so as to enable the same scheme to be available all over Sharjah," said Mr Al Huraimel.