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Categorized | Analysis, Energy and water

Wasteful thinking

With Abu Dhabi producing more than 10 million metric tonnes of municipal waste each year, advances in waste collection technologies and services is at the top agenda. Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week’s inaugural EcoWASTE exhibition posed as a useful platform to help meet the agenda. Lorraine Bangera reports

Companies from across the world sent representatives to the first EcoWASTE exhibition in Abu Dhabi to discuss solutions and showcase innovative technology addressing the sustainable disposal and recycling of waste.

EcoWASTE 2014 was held along with World Future Energy Summit and International Water Summit at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from January 20-22. The received more than 50 local and international suppliers as well as 2,000 buyers and industry professionals.

Held in partnership with TADWEER-Centre of Waste Management and hosted by Masdar, EcoWASTE 2014 brought together experts to exchange know-how, network and do business in what is rapidly becoming a multi-billion dollar industry.

Companies like Eldan Recycling, a global supplier of recycling machinery, from Denmark, joined other local and international leading organisations, such as Bee’ah, averda, Green Mountain and Lava, from countries including Germany, Switzerland and Finland.

A series of technical workshops and seminars addressed broad cross-section of industry issues, including recycling, waste-to-energy and advances in waste collection.

“Our first EcoWASTE sheds further light on the interrelated challenges of energy, water and waste,” said Naji El Haddad, EcoWASTE Show Director. “Through these sessions, attendees will not only network but also gain in-depth knowledge from technical experts at the forefront of sustainable waste management regionally and internationally.”

“The GCC has the potential to become a leader in the waste-to-energy sector as the DSWMC in Qatar illustrates,” said Dr Johan De Greef of Keppel Seghers. “With Abu Dhabi aiming to divert 85% of its solid waste from landfill by 2018 and other states in the region following its lead, the technology and insights presented at EcoWASTE provide a pathway towards a genuine sustainable waste management future.”

Dr Johan De Greef of Keppel Seghers, will consider waste-to-energy solutions tailored for the industrial sector. Keppel Seghers designed and built the GCC’s first domestic solid waste management centre, or DSWMC, in Qatar, which diverts up to 95% of waste from landfill.

Waste, a resource

Jeroen Vincent, COO at averda GCC, told BGreen: “To have a podium for waste management like EcoWaste will help propel innovation.”

averda is an environmental solutions provider specialising in integrated waste and resource management. Its service portfolio addresses ranges from city beautification and cleaning to the collection, treatment, disposal and recycling of all forms of solid and liquid waste for all industries.

According to Vincent, awareness already exists in the market, all that needs to be done is “change our systems to smaller models”.

He said: “For developing a waste market, you need professional players. And these professional players need a feasible economic way to operate.

“The existing landfills can be sanitised and used to capture gas (methane). But there are many other options before the waste goes to landfills such as segregation at source, treating the waste or recycling. We want to execute smarter ways of treating waste.”
All this could be done by involving both the manufacturers, municipality and of course the residents, according to Vincent.

Vincent believes waste is a useful commodity, a belief he hopes commoners would understand too.
He said, “We see waste as a valuable resource, not as waste.
“Educating the masses through fear or guilt could be very negative. For example, if I see an accident and stop speeding, it would only be for a while. By guilt or fear, nobody is actually moved. However if you make people understand how waste is a resource, it would be more positive and will work.”

The COO also talks about his favourite topic, the circular economy, which according to him is “simple and nothing new”.
He said: “It is like following nature, putting back resources where it belongs. We, at averda, believe in the circular economy and the cradle to cradle philosophy.

He argues that according to the philosophy, consumerism is not really wrong. He said: “Consumerism is fine, if you look at nature it consumes a lot. But what nature does is beneficial to the environment, like creating oxygen from carbon dioxide, or creating food for the animals and fertilisers for the ground. We need to follow the same pattern and give back through better waste management.”

 

 

 

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