Middle East Conferences: Cooperative effort

Boosting electronics recycling in the UAE can get a kick-start with government involvement, says one recycler.

March 19, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Conferences & Events Electronics Legislation & Regulations

Working with the government of Dubai to help draft recycling-friendly legislation has been a good experience for his company, one recycler told attendees of a session at the 2014 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Middle East.

Stuart Fleming, founding partner and CEO of Dubai-based Enviroserve, says he helped draft a mobile phone recycling law that has subsequently been adopted in Dubai. Fleming pointed to this as an outcome that was preferable to complaining.

When a product or package has a low recycling rate, “We can blame others, or the government,” said Fleming, but ultimately individuals are responsible for making purchasing decisions or taking actions that can increase recycling rates.

Fleming announced to attendees that Enviroserve had just finalized a contract to work with Apple on its recycling efforts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Enviroserve, which describes itself as “a public-private partnership with the UAE Federal Environment Agency,” was founded in 2005.

He said Enviroserve’s history of recycling efforts in the region has produced both opportunities and curious practices—such as the printer company that ships out its models to distributors with six different power cords, not knowing ahead of time which will be the proper one to be compatible with regional power outlets. In this case, he added, “no one at the company [was empowered] with making a decision on how to reuse them.”

Enviroserve’s electronics recycling business in the UAE also has led it into the hard drive and document destruction business, with the company now operating a mobile shredding truck.

One of Enviroserve’s latest initiatives, being conducted in cooperation with the Dubai Municipality government, is “The Green Truck,” a collection truck for household recyclables such as paper, plastic bottles and aluminum beverage cans (as well as obsolete electronics).

Fleming said the truck is seeking customers in targeted residential areas. “We’ve got 150 households signed up and we get a couple of calls per day.” He called it part of an effort “to create a recycling system at homes and offices. I’m excited. I’m investing in it.”

The 2014 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Middle East was March 4-5 at the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai.