UAE to introduce e-waste rules and colour-coded recycling bins

Nationwide plan to cut huge amount of waste that goes to landfill

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Retailers in the UAE must by law supply a collection box for unwanted devices, batteries and other electronic waste, the environment ministry has said.

Colour-coded recycling bins will also soon be introduced across the country.

Suppliers will be legally required to dispose of any e-waste in collaboration with local authorities.

"Suppliers are also mandated to collect electronic waste and batteries from consumers, free of charge, by providing collection boxes at their retail outlets and recycling them, or properly disposing of them, in co-ordination with the competent authority," the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said on Sunday.

The authorities shall provide colour-coded containers throughout the UAE
Ministry of Climate Change and Environment

The ministry set out executive regulations to a law first passed by the Cabinet in 2018. The e-waste plan is an addition to the original law, which sought to tackle the roughly 75 per cent of waste that ends in landfill in the UAE. At the time, officials said the average resident generated about 1.2 kilos of waste per person, one of the highest figures in the world.

Colour-coded waste bins

The colour-coded recycling bins will be introduced across the country as part of a plan to ensure the "proper separation of municipal solid waste", authorities said. Some of the emirates, including in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, already have colour-coded recycling stations dotted around the cities.

Sharjah is the only emirate to have curbside recycling collections – where municipal lorries collect and sort waste from the home – and only in certain suburban areas.

"To assist in the proper separation of municipal solid waste over the course of the coming decade, the authorities shall provide colour-coded containers throughout the UAE," the ministry said.

"Green is for recyclable waste – paper, cardboard, metal, glass, plastic waste and other types of waste specified by the authority, while black is for non-recyclable general waste, brown is for food and organic waste and red is for hazardous waste."

On a yearly basis the country generates 6.5 million tonnes of waste – the equivalent of more than 14 Burj Khalifas.

The authorities have urged people to recycle where they can and choose water coolers over plastic water bottles – one of the worst polluting items.

The ministry also set out a series of rules for waste management companies, including how to treat hazardous waste and waste water.

Updated: July 04, 2021, 1:24 PM