More plants to recycle construction waste needed

At least 50 recycling plants will be required to deal with construction waste in Dubai and reduce the burden on landfill sites, a waste management expert has warned.

Emirates Environmental Technology's Klaus Leirer, Project Manager at Sharjah's landfill, told Emirates Business that as a first step every construction company should separate waste – in particular wood, steel and paper from concrete.

Leirer was speaking at the opening of the country's first plant for recycling construction waste in Sharjah. The Dh40 million Saja'a waste management facility, developed and operated by Emirates Environmental Technology, can recycle 2,000 tonnes of demolition waste in nine hours.

"Sharjah alone produces about a million tonnes of construction waste every year and, therefore, we are not accepting waste from any other emirate," said Leirer.

"We are keen to expand our facility and double the capacity. Otherwise the landfill burden will increase." The plant can separate steel from paper, plastic and wood and the scrap can be sold. Salah Tahir, Director-General of Sharjah Municipality, said the joint venture with Emirates Environmental Technology would open up new business opportunities in selling on the byproducts of construction waste.

"With this initiative Sharjah will play a leading role both within the UAE and at the regional level in adopting the latest technology in recycling construction waste and converting it into reusable raw materials," he said.

The annual report of Dubai Municipality's Waste Management Department says the amount of construction and demolition waste generated in Dubai registered a record 163 per cent growth last year compared with the previous year.

In 2007, 27.7 million tonnes was removed from the city's construction sites compared to 10.5 million tonnes in 2006.