Increasing population levels, a booming economy, rapid urbanization and the rise in living standards, have greatly accelerated the municipal solid waste generation rate in the region. The Middle East may have a reputation for being one of the biggest producers of waste but the waste management industry is also considered to be one of the most advanced. In the UAE, the cooperation between the private sector and municipality have made it possible to provide people with integrated sustainable waste management.
Waste management is expected to continuously grow with advancement and innovation. Industry experts have shared that the dynamics of the industry will now focus more on ethics of sustainability of life and the planet itself—with the industry responding with more innovative and advanced ideas to handle waste in an environmentally friendly method. With events like the Expo 2020 and World Cup in the agenda, it will become more and more imperative for GCC nations to develop and implement sustainable practices in order to manage waste.
FM today asks leaders in the field on what are the best practices used by them to manage waste…
Bee’ah continues to introduce new technologies and best practices. Mohamed Alhosani, Managing Director of Tandeef, says that the lack of awareness towards the environment among the public poses one of the biggest obstacles in the waste management industry. Practices such as Smart Bins and control centre, Bee’ah has also been able to accrue data that allows the use of the fleet to be more efficient and effective, thereby reducing its own operational footprint on the environment.
• Wi-Fi Bins: Bee’ah has installed state-of-the-art Wi-Fi supported; solar-powered bins in Sharjah, making it the first city to utilise these eco-friendly and waste collection efficient technologies. With an open Wi-Fi connection available to the public, these smart bins will be placed in prominent, high footfall locations. Using green technology, the bins are “double-streamed” for increased solar capacity and also come equipped with sensors to detect when the bin is full.
• Eco-friendly Service: Bee’ah has established a new service called: You Call, We Haul. It is designed to help the Sharjah community to dispose of bulky waste in a more responsible and eco-friendly way. Supported by a fleet of trucks specially designed to handle large-scale waste – such as furniture, white goods and other household appliances – You Call, We Haul is dedicated to diminishing the common, unsustainable practices of disposing of such waste, which can often become a health as well as an environmental hazard.
• Control Room and Call Centre: Bee’ah’s control room is the epicentre for managing the monitoring of the waste bins, determining refuse levels and collection details and to support and mobilise Tandeef’s fleet of vehicles in the most efficient way. With a call centre service in support, enquiries from residents in relation to a number of Bee’ah and Tandeef’s services are also handled.
Farnek: Total Facilities Management
The UAE’s sustainability efforts are well documented, especially its energy management initiatives, but waste management is also an essential part of sustainability. Farnek is a leader in sustainable facilities management and driven its waste management initiatives in not only the facilities it manages but also in its own offices. According to Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek, if there is something lacking in the industry then its strict legislation on waste management, facilities to handle all waste types and awareness among people.
• Recycling of paper, cardboard and plastics: The basic recyclables like paper, cardboard, plastics and cans should all be segregated and sent for recycling. There are a number of approved contractors for collection around the region, many provide onsite staff to help and educate in the segregation of these materials. Contractors also provide rebates and payback schemes to encourage segregation and recycling.
• Recycling e'waste, light bulbs and tubes: We’ve seen an increased awareness of e'waste recycling with a number of facilities opening up across the region. Light bulbs and tubes, which were initially being sent to landfill, can now be recycled. Given the UAE’s substantial electrical use and availability of electrical equipment, this method of recycling will amount to a significant drop in landfill waste.
• Organic Waste Treatment: More than 50% of the municipality waste comprises of organic waste, therefore, treating the waste and converting to compost makes an incredible difference. This is another great initiative to divert the organic waste from the landfill and one that the hospitality industry is adopting more and more.
Zack H. Abdi, Managing Director, Provectus, addresses the importance of food waste management and how essential it is for FM companies to understand the Corporate Social Responsibility and embed Green Governance.
• Need for Commitment: According to him, looking after the designated infrastructure is a commitment to address maintenance with the highest quality services, providing with environmental solutions that can be recognized for LEED principles.
• Maintain Proactively: When each asset is undertaken proactively to maintain and reduce cost of unnecessary expenses e.g. sending MSW (Organic Food Waste) everyday to landfill creating unnecessary Methane gas and other GHGs or cleaning Grease Trap by collecting Used Cooking Oil (UCO) or using precious Desalination Water instead of recycling grey water or sending Aerosol Cans to landfill causing CFC and GHGs leak to name a few. All listed items can be Recycled on site, Reuse when segregated effectively and thus Reduce the environmental concern. For an example, Organic waste (normally a nuisance converted to precious resources… sterile pathogen free water and organic compost for organic produce or poultry feed. Food Waste Recycling System can address the landfill stress and also address the water stress and water footprint solutions plus help address the farming industry with organic fertilizer all coming from organic food waste.
• The need for Corporate Responsibility for Social Responsibility is crucial. Similarly, Green Governance can create Green Citizenship. Innovation, Sustainability (Economy, Environment and Social) and Legacy are wise vision beneficial for all Stakeholders for the benefits of our generations to come. Green Economy and Green Jobs initiative is a process and all parties can play integrated role in shaping the "Smart City" with organic human resources to address the Sustainability (Economy, Environment and Social) effectively.
Imdaad has always introduced and complied with the best practices in the local market. Marc Esteve, Executive Director - Environmental Services, Imdaad, says that the company has always made sure the operations are in accordance with the highest standards, and place great value in promoting ethical business practices to ensure the safety and well-being of the environment and the public. In line with this, they promote waste reduction and waste recycling as the preferred option, and with a clearly defined strategy to enforce this vision in an efficient manner that is also sustainable.
• Segregation at Source: Imdaad provides a comprehensive recycling facility for all categories of waste through segregation at the source or at our in-house facility, with a major Material Recovery Facility (MRF) coming up soon. After sorting, the materials are distributed according to specialised recycling companies for final processing. Apart from traditional waste such as cardboard, steel, paper and PET bottles, they have also expanded their scope and secured strategic partnerships to recycle lamps and bulbs, used cooking oil, and e-waste such as batteries, phones, toners, among others, to pioneer a whole cycle of comprehensive waste recycling operations in Dubai.
• Awareness Program: Imdaad is always on the look out to strengthen rapport and relations with its customers, they have also developed an Awareness Program to help reach national environmental targets, particularly the aim of having zero waste to landfill by 2025. Imdaad strongly supports all related government initiatives, and would like to do their part by instilling the value of recycling among the people through a comprehensive strategy that includes categorization of waste and provision of financial incentives.
• Healthy work environment: All of Imdaad’s programs and initiatives would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of its staff. It is for this reason that they place such great value in their well-being, and provide a healthy work environment. In line with this, they have implemented a welfare policy to provide the staff with adequate staff accommodation featuring amenities that will address all their needs. They also have an open-door policy and they regularly conduct safety training programs designed to equip the staff with the necessary skills and knowledge that could prove to be useful on the field.