Dubai landfill charges to encourage businesses to recycle

Dubai Municipality sets fees and money-saving incentives to focus businesses on the best way to dispose of their rubbish

DUBAI // Companies that choose to dump their rubbish in a landfill are not only damaging the environment, they are harming their finances.

Charges for every tonne of waste sorted for recycling are being cut by Dubai Municipality in a move aimed at encouraging firms to reduce the amount of rubbish taken to the emirate’s only public landfill, in Al Qusais.

Costs levied on businesses that opt to simply bury their rubbish will increase.

“The new charges for the landfill are in the last stages for approval,” said Abdul Majeed Saifaie, director of Dubai Municipality’s waste management department.

“Right now, because there is no fee, collectors mix the waste to save trips, but if there are fees they will end up segregating [their waste].

“We will have cheaper charges if you bring separated waste. This will encourage people to recycle,” Mr Saifaie said.

Charges for those companies allowed to dump their waste at the municipal landfill have yet to be announced.

They will probably average between the Dh225 charged in Abu Dhabi and the Dh150 Sharjah fee for every tonne of general waste.

Dubai charges companies Dh10 per lorry entering the landfill site.

Private residents are not charged.

Recycling will reduce the pressure on the public landfill until construction is completed, by the end of the year, on a facility at Al Layan 2, an industrial area near the Abu Dhabi border.

A landfill in Jebel Ali was shut three years ago when it reached capacity.

The fees are part of the emirate’s aim for zero waste to landfill by 2030. As part of the plan, 13 recycling areas will be launched in municipal parks and service centres.

Waste-disposal companies will transfer additional cost to clients, such as malls and developers. A higher gate fee will promote sustainable waste treatment, experts said

“There is currently no incentive for businesses in Dubai, so this is required,” said Ulysses Papadopoulos, founder of green business platform the Sustainability Business Network.

“In Dubai, it has been very hard for private companies who want to recycle. Once there is scale and quantity, companies will invest in factories and equipment.”

The Government has set a target for 25 per cent of waste going to landfill by 2021.

Dubai produces close to 8,000 tonnes of waste a day, of which about 70 to 75 per cent is produced by the private sector.

Every Dubai resident sends 2.03 kilograms of waste to the landfill every day, according to 2015 municipal statistics.

Tracking systems will be attached to lorries using the Dubai landfill to prevent dumping of waste from other emirates.

Currently, only lorries with a Dubai licence plate are allowed into the Al Qusais site. To take advantage of the low fees, officials said the same lorry could be sent to Abu Dhabi to be loaded and return to Dubai.

“Once the fee is announced, a vehicle tracking system will watch them,” Mr Saifaie said.

“There will be a big penalty if we catch anybody coming here from other emirates. It could end up closing the company, stopping its trade licence.”