Plastic still a major problem in Sharjah landfills
UAE's single PET recycling site is only operating at 30% capacity
Only a third of Sharjah residents recycle their plastic waste, revealed Bee’ah in a recent study, after recovering 3,342 tonnes of plastic last year from landfills.
With the UAE per-capita consumption of bottled water being the highest in the world, the waste management company estimated that each resident uses up to 450 plastic water bottles a year, recycling only a small percentage of it. Most, unfortunately, ends up taking up landfill space.
Reinhard Wilkes, acting vice president of operations, Bee’ah, said: "We can potentially capture all plastics, if they end up deposited in the right ways."
Fujairah’s Horizon Technologies, the only site in the country to re-process PET, [used to make the plastics], is only operating at 30 percent capacity since opening in 2008.
Rajiv Sinha, plant’s general manager, noted the increase but says it is still not enough.
"These are not very large figures if you look at the annual volume of waste,” said Sinha.
"There has been some increase over the years, but we are still far from what we are expecting. There is a long way to go," he added.
Recycling used plastic products requires up to 40 per cent less energy than manufacturing new ones, according to Bee'ah. It also saves landfill space because discarded plastics take hundreds of years to degrade.
Wilkes and Sinha both said more plastic waste could be recovered for recycling if, rather than throwing away drink bottles and other common plastic products, consumers put them in recycling bins.