The Big Debate: Recycling – is the UAE doing enough?

Environmentally-minded residents who separate their rubbish and shop with reusable bags in their home countries may be disappointed when they move to the UAE. A co-ordinated, Emirates-wide program to collect and recycle separated domestic waste appears a distant ideal, while a lack of awareness may be thwarting many existing, well-intentioned recycling schemes. However, there are many schemes in place if you know where to look. Recycling bins are dotted across Dubai, and a municipal program allows residents to recycle their computers. An organisation called EnviroFone collected nearly 65,000 mobile phones last year and the Emirates Environment Group runs annual can collection drives. There are also office paper recycling schemes in several of the more populous emirates. Supermarkets are starting to provide separate bins for plastic bottles, paper, and cans, and service station operator Emarat recently installed ‘reverse vending machines’ which reward recyclers with raffle coupons at some of its outlets. But is enough effort put into recycling in the UAE or are existing programs fragmented and poorly-promoted? Do enough residents care anyway?