Monday, April 2, 2018

Tadweer is recycling in Abu Dhabi: Be still my heart!

Me recycling for the first time in years.
Two days ago I saw two men putting what looked to be recyclables into a dumpster just like the one above, in the parking lot outside the Park Rotana, and I thought, hmmm. Then I spotted two of the same bin outside my apartment and literally, my heart soared.

I still don't know anything about the bins, other than that they are there and I am happy about it, but believe me, I'm looking into it.

It's cool timing that these bins have appeared, because today The National published my story about the plans Tadweer, The Centre for Waste Management in Abu Dhabi, has to capture methane at its Al Dhafra Landfill and use it to power a new plant to incinerate about 18,000 tonnes per year of medical and hazardous waste and convert 20,000 liters of used cooking oil per day into biodiesel. All of that was just going into the landfill, by the way, and all of the methane was going into the atmosphere.

For years I schlepped my recycling down to a non-descript depot outside Spinneys (another, different one that didn't have a clear owner/operator), feeling pretty virtuous for the extra effort. For several years I wrote a column in The National called Green Queen, after all. I had to walk the talk.

But then I met a friend who did work in this area – he is a lawyer – and he told me not to bother, that whatever I dropped off there wasn't being recycled. So I stopped. And I've felt privately ashamed as well as slightly depressed about it ever since. I am just one person, but I generate so much trash, no matter what I do (including an ill-conceived attempt last year to slow-compost on my balcony. There is a tub out there now full of rotten food that I can't bear to look into).

The municipality did announce a door-to-door recycling scheme years and years ago, one I wrote about at the time for the Globe and Mail, but it never materialised. But I really think, considering the mentality over here – the "chuck it" mentality – that it was too ambitious at the time.

Slow clap Tadweer. Slow, happy clap. 

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