EGA unveils aluminium recycling initiative amid sustainability push

The company has partnered with a number of UAE firms to drive a 'step-change' in recycling the metal

Emirates Global Aluminium partnered with UAE companies to launch the Aluminium Recycling Coalition. Photo: Emirates Global Aluminium
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Emirates Global Aluminium, the UAE’s largest industrial company outside the oil and gas sector, has teamed up with beverage producers, can makers and waste management companies to launch an aluminium recycling initiative in the UAE amid the country's push for a greener economy.

The Aluminium Recycling Coalition aims to drive a “step-change” in recycling the metal in the UAE and to promote aluminium recycling by consumers, particularly beverage cans, EGA said in a statement.

The coalition includes EGA, Abu Dhabi Waste Management Company (Tadweer), Aujan Coca-Cola Beverages Company, Coca-Cola Al Ahlia Beverages Company, BeeahTandeef, Pepsi-bottler Dubai Refreshment, Canpack, Crown Bevcan, Dulsco Group and France-based resource management group Veolia.

“Aluminium demand is expected to grow worldwide by between 50 per cent and 80 per cent by 2050, because of the key role of this infinitely recyclable material in achieving net zero,” said Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

“Co-operation throughout the value chain, such as the Aluminium Recycling Coalition, will speed the decarbonisation of our economy in line with the Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative.”

A March 2022 study by the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), a body representing the global primary aluminium industry, showed that more than 70 per cent of the material used in aluminium cans is recycled into new products — almost double that of glass (34 per cent) and plastic (40 per cent).

It also found that aluminium cans best support a circular economy, and that compared with aluminium cans, more glass and plastic bottles end up in landfills because they are not collected.

The UAE's Aluminium Recycling Coalition will "enhance the UAE’s position as a global leader in international efforts towards green development, support our 2031 goals on the circular economy and contribute to building a knowledge-based economy that is more resilient and competitive", Abdullah bin Touq, UAE Minister of Economy, said.

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Last year, EGA announced plans to build an aluminium recycling plant with a capacity of 150,000 tonnes per year as it looks to decarbonise its operations.

EGA was also the first Middle East-based company to join the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative, a global body that sets sustainability standards for the industry.

“Recyclability is one reason aluminium is so important for human progress, but every day as a society we throw too much of this valuable metal away," Abdulnasser bin Kalban, chief executive of EGA, said.

"By championing the Aluminium Recycling Coalition, EGA aims to increase aluminium recycling rates in the UAE to the benefit of our society and economy."

The UAE is aiming to achieve net zero by 2050 with new investments worth Dh600 billion ($163.5 billion) planned in clean and renewable energy sources over the next three decades.

EGA, one of the world's largest aluminium producers, has smelters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The company is developing its own technology to decarbonise operations and reduce emissions. Its aluminium is shipped to more than 50 countries. EGA generates about Dh20 billion in economic activity yearly and supports more than 60,000 jobs in the UAE.

The aluminium sector accounts for 1.4 per cent of the UAE economy.

Updated: January 15, 2023, 8:41 AM