Shoppers in Dubai generating half a kilo of waste on average mall trip

Shoppers also consumed over 500 kWh of energy per sqm and used almost 11 litres of water per visitor, highlighting need for better energy and waste management

A dumpster at a UAE overflows with rubbish.
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Shoppers in Dubai malls produce over a half a kilogram of waste per person per visit, a survey has found.

According to information gathered from seven malls by UAE-based, sustainability-led facilities management company Farnek, each visitor used an average of 511 kWh per square metre of energy, used 10.86 litres of water and produced 520 grams of waste.

“511 kWh is enough energy to run a fridge-freezer continuously for 365 days,” added Markus Oberlin, CEO of Farnek.

500g is roughly equivalent to three apples or a loaf of bread.

The malls submitted data about their consumption figures and the general characteristics of their buildings, and the figures were calculated after taking in to consideration other variables, such as the amount of outdoor space and air conditioning by type and distribution.

“A low performing mall uses almost twice as much energy as a better performing mall, underscoring the importance of a comprehensive energy management plan and the savings it can make,” added Oberlin.

The waste generation ratio per visitor varied between 250g and 1.08kg, with malls on average diverting just 23 per cent of their waste from landfill and into recycling.

“A poor waste performing shopping centre generates over four times as much waste as the best performing mall and given the increased Dubai landfill rates that will come into force on 18th May, savings here could be considerable," said Mr Oberlin.

Under recycling guidelines for malls that were first announced in 2012, shopping centres are required to segregate recycleable plastic, paper, metals and glass, from non-recycleable items. Malls were expected to comply by the end of 2013 as part of a plans to ensure as much as 75 per cent of Dubai's waste was recycled by this year.


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Later this year, Dubai Municipality is to raise its fee of Dh10 per trip for trucks to dump waste in landfill sites to Dh80 per tonne of waste, and Dh100 by 2020.

The Municipality offers discounts for those who segregate rubbish into recyclables and non-recyclables.

The UAE has one of the highest waste generation rates, with each person in the country estimated to produce on average up to 2.3kg of waste every day and Dubai generates 8,200 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day, according to figures released in 2016 - that is 15 per cent above the global average.

The emirate has set a target of zero landfill waste by 2030.

Farnek's key findings of are to be showcased at the RetrofitTech Dubai Summit which starts on 10th April.