Everything you need to know about how to live a low-waste life in the UAE

Last year, residents, companies and government departments in Abu Dhabi produced more than 11 million tonnes of rubbish. Just 36 per cent was sustainably treated or recycled.

Recycling services in the capital are provided by Tadweer, Abu Dhabi’s Waste Management Centre. There are 15 recycling stations in Abu Dhabi. Residents should look for the colourful bins in places like Khalidiya Public Park.

Clear and coloured glass, paper, cans, bottles, wood, cardboard, mobile phones, used batteries, plastic, wool, metal and cotton can all be sorted and segregated.

Too busy to find your nearest recycling point? A new service called Recapp provides free door-to-door collection of recyclables in Abu Dhabi.

The app enables users to earn points in exchange for recycling plastic and metal packaging. At present, they do not collect paper, cardboard or glass.

Since launching in November, they have collected 2,000kg of plastic bottles and metal cans. The points earned by recycling enthusiasts can be exchanged for gifts with their partners.

Composting food waste in the UAE

Composting (iStockphoto.com) *** Local Caption ***  wk29ma-gd-gardener.jpg
Fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee granules, natural tea bags, nut shells, spices, bread and old cereal can be composted. iStockphoto

Organic waste like uneaten food, eggshells, coffee grounds and vegetable peelings can all be composted to create nutrient-rich soil.

There is no government system in place in the UAE, but several community enterprises have entered the space.

Residents living in apartments without outdoor spaces can drop off their waste at several micro-recycling sites established on the Make Soil online platform.

If you have outdoor space, try using either the Gobble or Bokashi systems to easily compost at home. These kits come with a special powder to sprinkle on to food waste to encourage it to break down over six to eight weeks. Both units claim to be odourless and rodent-proof.

Recycling e-waste and large items in the UAE

For a fee, Madenat Recycling will collect old computers, washing machines, batteries, wires, lamps and lightbulbs – a great option if you have larger items you want to dispose of responsibly.

Enviroserve will perform the same function if you book collection on their website. The waste management company opened the world’s largest e-waste recycling facility in Dubai Industrial Park in 2019.

The Recycling Hub cost Dh120 million to build and has state-of-the-art reclamation technology to process items like old air conditioning units, household appliances, aerosol cans and refrigerant gas.

Large items like furniture and kitchen appliances can be reused by other residents. Take My Junk is a free service in the UAE. Send the team a WhatsApp message with your location and the dimensions of the item, and they will come and pick it up.

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