The Food Chain
fmME investigates the new rule regarding waste grease disposal
Of the 30,000 litres of waste grease collected in Dubai, just 10,000 ends up at the Al Aweer treatment plant. fmME looks at Dubai Municipality’s new grease waste regulations and the FM challenges of a food outlet
Dubai Municipality has issued new regulations regarding the treatment of waste oil in Dubai. In partnership with the Al Serkal Group, the DM has stated that only authorised waste companies are to collect grease trap waste from food outlets and must now dispose of it in the new Envirol treatment facility set up in Al Aweer.
The launch comes after the Municipality found that of the 25000 to 30000 gallons of grease being produced daily only 10000 gallons were reaching the Al Aweer plant. Most of it flows into sewage lines, blocking sewers and polluting the water.
Time to play by the rules
The new requirements state that all authorised waste management collection agencies must issue a coupon to each restaurant which it cleans a grease trap for.
“The coupons state the name of the restaurant and kitchen, the number of grease traps they have and how much waste they deposited,” explained Envirol Plant Manager, Elham Pourtangestani, at a press launch in Dubai.
“This allows us to see exactly how many customers pass through the restaurant each day against how much oil the restaurant disposes of, helping us track illegal waste disposal.
“Restaurants, kitchens and the food production industry need to be more careful about this type of waste. At the moment maybe only 30%-40% are following these rules and regulations,” she added.
Companies have also been asked to install GPS tracking devices to vehicles collecting and disposing of waste for location tracking purposes.
The regulations have also been put in place to support Dubai’s sustainability initiatives. Once the grease reaches the centre it will be treated and turned into irrigation water, bio diesel, clean oil and fertiliser for re-use in other areas.
Ajay Kumar, senior manager, operations, Dulsco Waste Management Services, a company that carries restaurants among its list of clientele, said that these measures would help to bring in higher efficiencies in waste management.
“Restaurants and food outlets generate a great deal of food residues which are usually washed out through the drain to main sewer lines. Sewage with such residues are usually high in oil content and are unfit to be treated in available sewage treatment plants.
“To collect such waste, food outlets install grease traps, which require frequent cleaning in order to be functional. If these grease traps are not cleaned regularly, the residues will reach sewer lines and damage very expensive sewage treatment plant equipment.”
Trashco has been operating in Dubai for 34 years. Simone Macatangay, business development manager, says it is imperitive that all waste management service providers abide by the new regulations.
“Together, client and service provider must work hand in hand so that the waste is collected, transported and disposed of with very minimal or nil impact to the environment,” he said. The municipality has set standards to ensure this process [operates effectively].
The coupon system will be implemented immediately and authorised waste management companies are expected to start using them. More time is being allowed for the installation of the GPS tracking devices.
A complex structure
But restaurants are a highly complex environment in which special considerations when carrying out the FM.
MMG recently won the contract for eight restaurants on the Pearl Qatar, awarded through the Hospitality Development Company and FM in any service-oriented sector is always slightly different from mainstream FM, explained Youssef Abillama, CEO of MMG.
“In all our works, hygiene and cleanliness is essential, even more so when working in the back of house areas in restaurants. Our teams are well-trained in keeping their work areas spotless and in not affecting the overall hygiene of the areas they are entering.”
Special considerations include monitoring air curtains and SAS for ventilation and food temperature; managing backup generators for fridges to prevent restaurants from facing power cuts, resulting in damaged food and financial loss; keeping a separate, isolated room for poultry, dairy products, wheat etc; and applying high safety measures in terms of fire protection in kitchen.
“Unlike many other FM contracts, we have to be available 24 hours a day – and adapt to working with the long and varied opening hours,” explained Abillama.
“In addition, what may be seen as a simple maintenance matter can have serious consequences for the outlet as a whole if not dealt with. A cracked tile in the kitchen could, for example, if not fixed, mean that the restaurant is closed down for health and safety reasons. This cannot happen and it is our job to ensure very strict health and safety standards are upheld at all times.”
Four people work exclusively on the contract, and assign other teams as necessary for any additional work.
The contract covers the maintenance for all of the restaurants, Bistro 61; Pampana; Burj Al Hamam; Chocolate Bar; Liza; Tse Yang; The Bread Basket and Megu; excluding the kitchen equipment, which is handled by a sub-contractor.
For each restaurant, the scope of work covers the preventative and corrective maintenance of: the mechanical system; sanitary system; pumping system; civil works; HVAC systems, water systems and fire alarm systems.
“MMG will also fix any construction defects and looks after everything on the H&S side. It’s our job to make sure that the restaurants look great inside and out, and that the customer experience lives up to their high expectations,” he said.
The contract came following years of experience in the same field. MMG has been involved in carrying out the FM for a number of restaurants for the past ten years across Lebanon, Qatar and the UAE. The company manages over 200 restaurants including Starbucks, Paul, Le Pain Quotidien, Columbus Café, Noodle Factory, Pinkberry and Shake Shack.
Know the game
“In Lebanon, we have been handling the FM for the Roadster chain of restaurants – which now totals 12 outlets and is set to increase to 15 next year,” said Abillama. “It is a basic MEP contract and MMG’s mobile teams, through periodical planned visits, carry out the preventive maintenance of the branches and we are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for corrective works.”
The FM operation in a restaurant does present challenges, often not visible in other sectors, explained Abillama.
“Timeliness is paramount - we have to bear in mind at all times that our customer has customers. We need to work around their customers to create as little inconvenience for their business as possible. We are bound by their working hours and have to plan ahead when scheduling certain visits.”
He compares it to working on a CEO’s office where even small things are important and need to be fixed instantly.
Tough to swallow
“In a restaurant, if a light bulb or drainage is not working, it needs to be tackled immediately as this could directly impact on the operation, and the overall customer experience as a result.
“HVAC is also obviously essential and has to be maintained at all times.” The company is constantly working to develop and achieve goals for the future.
“[On this particular project], we have been […] keeping files for each restaurant’s health and safety record. We have, for example, carried out full testing of the fire alarm systems, including running evacuation tests last month with the employees, who are now fully prepared in case of emergency,” said Abillama.
Sustainability is a huge focus and some additional measures that the company is looking to implement in the future are particularly geared around water consumption.
“We always do our best to meet and exceed our client expectations and being green is at the top of our list - at Roadster, for example, we installed LED lights for all the indirect lighting at one branch as a start and will proceed with all the remaining branches in 2012. We have also installed gas water heaters instead of electrical ones for both efficiency and to reduce their power consumption.” And restaurants are a strong focus for the company in 2012.
MMG confirmed it will continue to look for further projects in the food industry during 2012.
“Restaurants are definitely a sector we are targeting for next year through these new services and we are hoping that we will be awarded contracts for the FM of further restaurants in the future, especially in Qatar,” said Abillama.
He also confirmed that a new line of services would be introduced by MMG in 2012 for which further details were yet to be revealed.
“In the rest of the region, we will be expanding both our operations and our presence in the emirates, with the opening of a new office in Abu Dhabi, and are looking to the Saudi for further expansion,” he concluded.
TRAPPED: THE RULES
• All kitchens must have grease traps corresponding to the number of clients catered to daily.
• It is designed to trap waste oil and excess kitchen waste that has passed through a sink and pipes during dish/pot washing process.
• The size of the trap must correspond to the approximate volume of kitchen waste water produced. Kitchen owners must endeavour to find a DM approved grease trap cleaner, who will suggest how often traps must be cleaned to avoid waste oil build-up, which will harden and clog the system. This will also ensure minimal waste oil passes through the municipality lines.
• The grease trap cleaning service provider must then collect and transport, through Dubai Municipality accredited trucks, the waste oil, which should then be dumped/off loaded at Al Serkal processing plant in Al Aweer.