Recycling firm seeks profits in waste - Emirates24|7

Recycling firm seeks profits in waste



A recycling company is looking to profit from green projects as it tackles the problem of waste management in Sharjah.

The head of Sharjah Environment Company, or Bee’ah, said he expects to see a “reasonable” return on investments in recycling and waste management in the next two to three years.

“Recycling is not the best money-making business in the world but it is reasonably profitable,” CEO Samer Kamal, told Emirates Business. Bee’ah, a public-private partnership company established in 2006, has earmarked Dh1.3 billion to deliver environmental services and programmes.

It operates 50 recycling centres that collect and sort garbage and is responsible for landfills and commercial recycling initiatives.

Kamal said he was “conservatively optimistic” about the financial viability of recycling but added that Bee’ah might increase its investment by up to Dh1.1bn in the next five years.

“The focus is on reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills,” he added.

“Some of the existing landfills on the east coast and in the central regions of Sharjah may be hazardous to the environment, so the company is closing them.

“One of the UAE’s biggest problems is the waste that goes into its landfills.”

Data from Bee’ah shows that the average UAE resident uses the equivalent of seven trees a year in paper, wood and other products.

With an estimated population of 4.4 million in 2007, it means the entire population is consuming 30,800,000 trees a year. Every year each UAE resident throws out on average 125kg of organic garbage that could be composted. And on average each person generates 3.4kg of solid refuse each day. This adds up to more than a tonne per person per year.

A tonne of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 1,132 litres of oil, 2.3 cubic metres of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 26,600 litres of water.

“In Sharjah, one of the biggest problems is solid refuse,” Kamal said. “Currently, we have five landfills that receive about 1.2 to 1.3 million tonnes of waste every year. Bee’ah aims to reduce it by 35 per cent to 40 per cent – about 400,000 tonnes – the amount of waste arriving at Sharjah landfills per year in the next five to 10 years.”

He said the company has a sorting facility that separates recyclable items and 6,000 recycling bins have been distributed across the emirate.

In November, Bee’ah awarded a Dh33m waste management contract to US-based Envyrozone Inc.