As environment-friendly goods become the latest trend in the UAE, several companies are cashing in on the green drive to take their slice of the multi-million dirham business.
A plethora of products have been introduced that claim to be non-polluting and designed to have the least possible negative impact on the environment. They range from cleaning solutions without chemicals and degradable plastics to environment-friendly plastics and concrete.
SS Lootah International has introduced Clearwater – a chemical-free cleaning solution that uses purified normal water. Peter Manzi, managing partner, said Clearwater has been developed by SS Lootah International and is currently in the testing stage.
"Clearwater contains no petrochemicals, fragrances, dyes or any other additives, making it environmentally friendly in all respects. The pure, laboratory-grade water is safe enough to drink and therefore poses minimal risk for children, pets and people with sensitivities," he said.
The company is planning to sell Clearwater in the entire Middle East market.
Manzi said the product has been made available at select supermarkets in the UAE as a test marketing effort. "We plan to distribute it throughout the region, where there is a great interest in green products," he said.
It is an effective cleaner for glass, polycarbonates, plastics, stainless steel, marble, granite, reflective surfaces and chrome, he claimed.
"Clearwater adopts cleaning techniques such as the 'Reach and Wash' system, where high-pole technology is used to pump chemical-free purified water through lightweight telescopic poles with soft bristle brushes that results in a crystal clear finish, eliminating the need to use harmful detergents.
"This technique is highly effective in cleaning high-rise buildings up to 60ft without the use of ladders or cradles, thereby making it very safe for the staff and cost-effective as well," Manzi added.
Meanwhile, to address the public outcry against environmental pollution caused by plastic, Fujiarah Plastics has tied up with Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc of the UK to market and manufacture specific grades of degradable polymers.
A new company, Eco Polymers, has been formed in the UAE to make what is called degradable plastic, which will decompose if exposed to the heat and oxygen in the open environment. The joint venture company plans to set up a manufacturing facility with Fujiarah Plastics to produce more than 500 tonnes of the degradable polymer per month.
Winston Price, the GCC representative of Symphony Plastics, told Emirates Business that an additive is put into the plastic at the extrusion stage to make it oxo-biodegradable. He said several consumer co-operative societies and shopping malls have already shown interest in the eco-friendly product.
Fujairah Plastic has recently constructed a 100,000 sq ft factory. Symphony Environmental Technologies has signed a distribution and manufacturing agreement with Fujairah Plastics for 15 years to distribute the product in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Jordan.
He said: "This plastic will degrade and disappear in a short time, leaving no fragments, methane and harmful residues. The product is a low-cost insurance against the plastic accumulation in the environment. These products are made with the same machinery and workforce as ordinary plastic."
Another UAE-based company has launched a waterless car-cleaning product, providing a green solution to keep cars dirt free, with no impact on the environment.
Saad El Zein, managing director of Able Facilities Management, said: "Research shows 200 litres of water are used to wash one car, water that should be saved for more important things. Here in the UAE, cars need more care and cleaning due to the dust and extreme heat, meaning they are washed more frequently than in other countries. As more and more cars join the UAE's roads, it becomes increasingly important to preserve water and our 'Go Green' product doesn't use any water or chemicals that harm the environment.
"Composed of only natural ingredients, 'Go Green' consists of kaolin clay, which encapsulates and emulsifies dirt particles, and a natural carnauba wax, derived from leaves and seeds of a Brazilian tree, that protects and polishes the vehicle."
While with Go Green you can drive around in a car that is squeaky clean in an environmentally friendly way, there are yet other products that will let you live in a concrete high-rise without a prick on your green conscience. Ecosmat Foundation, a Canadian non-profit organisation, is encouraging the use of eco-friendly concrete and cement made with supplementary cement materials, such as fly ash, instead of clinker and sand.
Michale de Spot, president of Ecosmart Foundation, told Emirates Business: "The cement shortage in the UAE is a major problem and some producers are planning to use fly ash, a by-product of the coal used in cement plants, as a raw material. Huge quantities of fly ash are available at cheap prices from many coal-fired Indian power stations."
He said making a tonne of cement in the conventional way requires two tonnes of raw materials and produces one tonne of carbon dioxide.
Annually more than 600 million tonnes of fly ash are produced worldwide. In the UAE, EcoSmart Concrete, which is made out of fly ash, has been tested at professional exhibitions.
"The Burj Dubai, the world's tallest building, has fly ash in its concrete mix, primarily for increased durability," said de Spot.