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29 February 2024

Dubai launches 'green paper' drive

The 'green paper' signing function. The initiative is aimed at collecting newspapers from homes of subscribers and recycling them. (SUPPLIED)

By Shashank Shekhar

Newspapers in the UAE spend an average of $415 million (Dh1.52 billion) annually on the purchase of newsprint for their publications. This figure is about to decline, even though the price of newsprint has risen by about 25 per cent in the past one year.

An initiative of the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development, which involves the Ministry of Environment, Dubai Municipality and Al Bayan newspaper, plans to collect used paper – primarily newspapers – from the homes of subscribers and then recycle it for re-use by newspaper printing presses.

"Under ideal circumstances, a newspaper publishing company can save as much as 40 per cent of the cost of newsprint if it uses recycled paper," said Faisal bin Haider, General Manager of Masar Printing and Publishing, Dubai, which is part of the "green paper" drive. Members of the "green paper" drive inked an MoU in the presence on Minister of Environment and Water Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad.

Officials said there are plans to take the drive across the UAE once it succeeds in Dubai. "Al Bayan is the first newspaper to join the drive. In two weeks, we will begin talking to other publishers across the UAE. We will also consider launching drives to collect other kinds of wastes," said Faisal.

The "green paper" process will involve a newspaper publishing company hiring an agency that will collect newspapers from houses, recycle it and then give it to the newspaper group again for printing. Newspaper companies are expected to float their own offers to hire agencies that can both collect and recycle paper. There are plans to introduce attractive schemes to attract subscribers for the scheme.

"Each subscriber of the scheme will be asked to collect papers in a bag and then hand it over to the agency that would come for collection every two weeks. The subscriber will be given coupons on the basis of the amount of paper he offers. The coupons will have attractive schemes attached," said an official who is part of the drive. The bag for collections will carry promotional advertisements of sponsors of the scheme, the official said.

The drive comes when the price of newsprint has risen about 25 per cent in the past one year, according to industry estimates. "The average price of newsprint, imagining that every variety of paper is sold at equal price, would stand at $700 per tonne today. And this has risen 25 per cent in the last one year even though the demand has declined," said Mahmoud Amirfathi, CEO of Lanhope General Trading, a Dubai-based company that deals globally in newsprint.

The UAE plans to continue supporting initiatives that aim at preserving the environment, Ahmed bin Fahad told Emirates Business.


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