DUBAI // Saving the environment can conjure up the idea of big, sweeping measures that for many who live in the UAE seem all but impossible.
But small changes can make a big difference too, say the organisers of an event tomorrow devoted to all things natural and reusable, the Future Green Dubai 2010 exhibition.
The organisers reason that if enough people plugged their mobile phone into a solar charger rather than an electric socket, used products made out of recyclable materials (such as a pen made from what was once paper), ate organically grown food or recycled their household waste, they would have an impact.
"It is not only about Masdar," said the co-organiser, Tatiana Abella, referring to Abu Dhabi's clean energy company. "It is also about the day-to-day choices for people."
The one-day exhibition at Knowledge Village Conference Hall in Dubai will bring under one roof 32 small companies offering items including organic coffee, non-toxic home cleaning products and energy-efficient lighting. Some 400 visitors have registered.
"People are actually looking for this," said Ms Abella, who two years ago co-founded the regional green products online directory Goumbook with a fellow Dubai resident, Randala Anabtawi.
The two women, who joined forces after trying to buy "green" products for themselves, now provide links to more than 700 companies from 24 countries.
Since the event is supported by the Energy and Environment Park, Enpark, it has been able to attract smaller companies and start-ups.
One exhibitor is the emerging Dubai-based company Ekotribe, which is promoting green corporate gifts such as a solar mobile charger and a battery that can be recharged from a USB device. Ekotribe has attracted clients including the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, Dubai Silicon Oasis and the Qatar Foundation.
"Private companies are also gradually showing interest in giving green corporate gifts," said Anu Agarwal, the company's director. "However, they need to be educated about the benefits and the availability of products. More than being trendy, green is slowly becoming a must."
Another green entrepreneur is Leena al Abbas, who owns the Zen Beauty Lounge in Discovery Gardens, billed as the country's first eco-friendly salon that not only uses organic or natural products, but also recycles and employs energy- and water-saving techniques.
A vegan and a keen scuba diver, Ms al Abbas called her business "an extension of her lifestyle".
Ms al Abbas said her clients include would-be mothers, women with allergies as well as those who simply "enjoy toxic-free treatments".
Western expatriates are the main clientele for green products, having been introduced to them in their home countries. But Ms al Abbas said the idea is catching on as women from other countries learn more.
"It is about how you can be healthier, how you can save money from energy savings and how you can benefit your children," she said.
Future Green Dubai 2010 runs from 9am to 3pm. Entrance is free.