Market update; Waste management in the GCC in 2018
UAE companies are getting savvy, as they apply new waste reduction methods
The concept of a circular economy in the UAE is gaining steam; in simple terms it means the ability to keep resources in use for as long as possible, and to extract maximum value from them whilst in use. The circular economy champions the concept of ‘best of waste’.
For instance, UAE-based Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) announced that it recycled more than 96,000 tonnes of waste in 2017, up from over 77,000 tonnes in 2016. The firm also held the first Global Recycling Day in March 2018, which is being observed worldwide to encourage the economic re-use of waste. The waste volume EGA recycled in 2017 increased with the company's reduction of stockpiles from previous years, having found economically-viable solutions.
EGA’s smelting operations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai produce several by-product streams for which the company has made significant progress in finding economic re-uses, particularly with the cement industry. Spent pot lining, the used inner lining of the pots in which aluminium is smelted, is a useful source of fuel and refractory materials for the cement industry. EGA supplied almost twice as much SPL to UAE cement plants in 2017 than it produced. An evident use-case scenario from EGA, one that can inspire several other industries.
Dubai Municipality’s new waste tipping fee is set to come into effect from May 17, 2018. As we know the fee will only be applicable for the commercial and industrial sector. The fee is expected to drive an increase in running costs for several companies across different industries and FM company Farnek has put together a few suggestions for the hospitality sector.
On average UAE hotels send 1,200 tonnes of waste to landfill, half of which is food waste, according to the TFM company. “That’s the equivalent of filling an average hotel room, every five days and works out to 8.5 kgs per guest, per night, compared with 1.2 kilos in Europe. And with Dubai Municipality introducing new tipping fees next month — of $22 (AED80) per tonne for general waste — it could become an expensive proposition,” said Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek.
He adds: “During Ramadan the waste per guest, per night can increase by as much as 50%, much of it uneaten food and that’s against a backdrop remember, of lower occupancies and softening rates. A sound recycling procedure can reduce waste by 25%.”
Waste to energy technology is making its way into urban environments. As cities around the world grow rapidly, their waste management techniques are under serious revision. Landfilling is no longer the most sustainable option — and a few municipal authorities are taking the lead to be innovative with their waste disposal techniques.
Sharjah’s bee’ah has several plans in the sector as its waste to energy plant begins to take shape in Sharjah — being built in a joint venture with Masdar. Meanwhile, Dubai Municipality is set to commence construction on a $680.7m (AED2.5bn) waste-to-energy (WtE) facility of its own.
Construction is due to begin in the next few months, with the plant set to be operational before Expo 2020 Dubai. Swiss company, Hitachi Zosen Inova, and Belgian construction giant, Besix Group, have been named to build and operate the project.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and Dubai Municipality are cooperating on the project's development. The Warsan project aims to treat 1.82 million tonnes of solid waste each year, and will have the capacity to generate 185 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality, said the Warsan project would be the world's largest WtE facility to operate at a single site. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and chief executive officer of DEWA, said the utility would be the project's offtaker.
The facility will be connected to DEWA's grid through high-voltage 132 kilo-volt (kV) cables. Al Tayer said that the project would provide a new power source for Dubai, while Lootah added that the development would support Dubai's aims to achieving and maintaining sustainability. A reported 5,000 tonnes of waste will be treated at the plant everyday.