x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

'Separating waste and recycling sounds complicated but it's not'

Dr Hasna Al Saeed misses the recycling efforts she grew to accept as habit in Germany.

DUBAI // Dr Hasna Al Saeed is not new to recycling.

The Emirati mother of three and her family had to get used to extensive waste-management procedures when she was attending medical school in Germany.

"We had to segregate everything," Dr Al Saeed said. "Paper was separated into carton and normal paper, while glass was segregated by colour and had to be taken to a recycling centre.

"We disposed of batteries in supermarkets. Medicine had to be in a separate bin, and you had a compost bin for raw organic waste.

"All packaging had to be cleaned before recycling and there was a special place for recycling electronics, a separate bin for organic waste and then another for all other waste such as nappies.

"We were allocated two cubic metres a year at the dump for bulky items such as mattresses and sofas. Anything above that we had to pay extra for. It sounds complicated but we got used to it very quickly. Segregation would happen automatically in the house - we had multiple bins in the kitchen for all the different waste, so it really wasn't that much of a hassle."

Now that Dr Al Saeed has returned to Dubai, she feels bad for not being able to recycle as much. "I'm now living with my in-laws and it's not my house to run, so I'm not recycling as much as I want to.

"The older generation don't understand why recycling is necessary, all we can do is try to explain to them." Dr Al Saeed wishes there were more recycling collection points in Dubai. "I still don't discard batteries and I try to find reusable nappies but they are not readily available here," she said.

Luckily, her family will move into a new home in Al Barsha next year, where she is looking forward to taking part in the My City, My Environment campaign, an at-home recycling initiative being rolled out by Dubai Municipality.