Gulf News reported that Dubai Efforts to recycle concrete and steel from demolition sites in the UAE are going to waste as few contractors use the locally produced recycled building material despite its environmental benefits.
A construction waste expert said that since it costs a mere AED 10 for each truckload of construction waste dumped into a landfill, there is not much financial incentive either.
Two plants that turn construction and demolition waste into building materials for roads and skyscrapers operate in the UAE. Sourcing construction materials locally can drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions and help buildings reduce their impact on the environment.
Mr Neil Roberts CEO of Emirates Recycling said that in the boom years around 11 million tonnes of construction waste was produced annually. Today around 20% of that is produced, which is still considerable. The Construction and Demolition Waste division of Emirates Recycling has the capacity to convert more than 3 million tonnes of construction waste materials generated in Dubai annually, the equivalent of 500 truckloads, into high quality reusable road and construction material or aggregate.
Mr Roberts said that recycling is not just about turning CDW into something else, it then has to be reused. Something local builders are not doing. CDW refers to concrete waste, waste from processing plants, waste generated from new building sites and includes steel reinforcement bars which all have to be processed.
He said that recycled material is not recycled because it has been put through a process it is recycled once it is reused. There needs to be a change in policy and drivers that encourage the reuse of recycled CDW. Consultants have to change the way they operate because this is the first time somebody has produced recycled material in the UAE. If you embrace change you can derive better value. The aggregate produced at Emirates Recycling is on the verge of being certified as a product for high quality market, such as buildings. Currently it is certified for roads and barriers.
Mr Roberts said that governments must look at incentives to persuade companies to abandon their current practices for more environmentally conscious ones.
Mr Hassan Makki of Dubai Municipality said that policy and legislative fiscal drivers will need to be the forefront of this movement and encourage companies not just to recycle but to also reuse recycled materials.
He said that companies need to take an intelligent approach when it comes to balancing costs and environmental contribution but in order for that to happen, first an effective resource recovery infrastructure that works needs to be in place.