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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 August 2018

Food waste keeps Dubai golf course green

Meat, half-eaten pizza slices, fruit peels, paper and other organic waste is being churned into water and fertiliser to help keep the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club green and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.
Food compost produced in Provectus Middle East's recycling unit at Dubai Creek Golf Club. Reem Mohammed / The National
Food compost produced in Provectus Middle East's recycling unit at Dubai Creek Golf Club. Reem Mohammed / The National

DUBAI // Meat, half-eaten pizza slices, fruit peels, paper and other organic waste is being churned into water and fertiliser to help keep the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club green and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Leftover food from staff cafeterias and other rubbish is fed into a machine that dehydrates it into compost, which is then ploughed back into landscaped areas.

By recycling waste on site, the pilot project is aimed at cutting the amount of rubbish sent to landfill and came as Dubai Municipality announced plans to increase charges for companies dumping unsorted waste.

“The main concept is to recycle at origin so food from a plate at the restaurant does not stay for days in a bin mixed with other garbage awaiting transport,” said Flavio Massimo Viviani, head of engineering at consultancy Provectus Middle East that has partnered with the club for a recycling project.

In the eco station, previously called the waste room, workers recheck large green bins to ensure metal, cans and glass are not mixed with organic waste before loading the machine.

“Before there were a lot of insects near the bins, now we can breathe easily,” said Purna, who cleaned club villas and sorted out the waste.

“Food and organic waste composting is an important step we all need to take together to make a difference,” said Christopher May, chief executive of Dubai Golf, a leisure subsidiary owned by Wasl Asset Management Group, which also manages Emirates Golf Club.

There are plans to expand the project to all restaurants and hotel kitchens across the club to make it the first residential and commercial community to use organic compost from unused food on its property.

Water from the recycling process is used on pot plants, villa gardens, date palms and to wash equipment and bins. On the golf course, the club uses treated effluent water from the municipality. Another long-term goal is to replace chemical fertiliser with organic compost from the recycling unit.

Unlike other composters, the machine uses a dehydration process with the steam emitted captured as water.

“You can put anything from leftover pizza to tiramisu in it, what comes out of the machine is compost and water, there is nothing for the landfill,” Mr Viviani said.

The municipality has called for innovations to reduce pressure on the emirate’s sole public landfill in Al Qusais.

“Food waste is always looked at as a nuisance, money is spent on pesticides to kill roaches, rats attracted to exposed food,” said Zack Abdi, managing director of Provectus, which has also teamed up with Wasl to collect used cooking oil from homes to prevent it clogging pipes.

It will use larger recycling units in tie-ups with other private and government firms.

“More such projects are needed because of regulation to encourage recycling. The Government cannot do everything so each commercial entity will have to create change within its own unit,” Mr Abdi said.

Almost a third of the world’s food for human consumption, about 1.3 billion tonnes, is lost or wasted each year.

rtalwar@thenational.ae

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