Recycling in the UAE

We all know about glass, plastic and paper, but what about surfboards, toothbrushes and human hair? Laura Chubb discovers how to go green with a difference Discuss this article

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It’s true the UAE isn’t the easiest place for getting into a rhythm of recycling, but that could be about to change thanks to Bee’ah. The Sharjah-based company is the first fully integrated recycling operation in the Middle East, meaning it is responsible for collecting, recycling and redistributing waste materials right here in the UAE, rather than shipping it off to who-knows-where. Keep a beady eye on Time Out for more about how we can all start working with Bee’ah. For now, here are some ideas to inspire the determined recycler in you.

1 Trainers
Don’t throw out your old trainers just because you’ve bought a shiny new pair. Believe it or not, they can be used to resurface playgrounds and running tracks. Give back to the track!

2 Spectacles
You can recycle old eyewear at various opticians around Dubai, including Yateem Opticians and Al Jaber Optical. There are more than 250 million people worldwide that suffer from poor vision because they can’t afford prescription eyewear. Redistributing your old goggles will help them see anew.

3 CDs and DVDs
Billions of CDs and DVDs are manufactured each year, while thousands are sent to landfill each month, be they damaged or just plain unwanted (why did you buy that Vengaboys single?). Recycle them instead and they can be turned into building materials and auto parts.

4 Human hair
It sounds kinda wrong, but we hear the piles of human hair collected in salons can be re-crafted into dense mats that soak up oil.

5 Surfboards
After riding waves in the ocean, old and unwanted surfboards can pave a way forward on land. The material is used to create asphalt and concrete for new roads.

6 Toothbrushes
We’ve all heard the one about changing your toothbrush every three months, but did you know that recycling those old brushes could contribute to some nice new decking in the garden? A wood-plastic composite made from old plastic and wood wastes can even be used to build houses, because it’s rain and heat resistant. So it saves the trees, too.

7 Crayons
It’s possible to melt down old crayons to make new crayons – and no doubt give birth to some exciting new colour combinations.

8 Corks
Rather than throwing away used corks from drinks bottles, recycling allows them to be reused for flooring and wall tiles.

9 Tyres
Billions upon billions of used tyres pile up every year, sent to landfill or illegally dumped. It’s a shame, because these old chaps still have plenty of mileage in them. Tyres can be recycled into rubber-based material used to make cushioned, non-abrasive floors for playgrounds, parks, athletic facilities and even schools.

10 Trophies
If you can bear to part with your Class of ’89 runner-up trophy for the three-legged race, old awards such as these can be donated to charities and re-engraved. That way, everyone’s a winner. Geddit?
For advice on recycling in the UAE, contact Bee’ah at

By Laura Chubb
Time Out Doha,

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