Friday, March 2, 2012

Middle East’s first Paper and Plastics Recycling Conference captures pulse of regional recycling industry

Paper and plastic recyclers, traders, recycling equipment suppliers and other delegates were able to discuss key industry issues with eminent speakers from the Middle East, US and Europe

Dubai, March 1, 2012: The region’s first Paper and Plastics Recycling Conference, which was held on 27-28 February at the JW Marriott Hotel in Dubai, was officially inaugurated by Dr Mariam Al Shenasi, acting undersecretary of the minister of environment, United Arab Emirates, on behalf of HE Dr. Rashid Bin Fahad, minister of environment and water on February 27.
In her opening address of the two-day event, Dr Mariam Al Shenasi drew the attention of the audience to the UAE’s 2030 Sustainability Program, ‘Estidama’ while stressing on the importance of recycling not only paper and plastic but other commodities as well.

Talking on the sidelines of the conference, HE Hamad Al-Ameri, general manager, The Centre of Waste Management Abu Dhabi, gave out the figures of recyclable waste collected in 2009, stating that about 44 percent of Municipal Solid Waste generated in Abu Dhabi was composed of paper and plastic waste that can be recycled. This includes waste from LDPE, HDPE, PET, mixed paper, cardboard, newsprint, magazine and high-grade paper.
Speaking to the media, Abdulmajeed Al Saifaie, director of Waste Management Department, Dubai Municipality pointed out that an average person in Dubai produces around 2.7 kilos of waste per day, which translates into seven to eight thousand tonnes per day of waste going to the landfills. “If we encourage more of such conferences, people would realise the importance of recycling other materials such as cans, and glass and I think we can reach the target of our master plan of sending zero percent of waste to landfill by 2030." 
One of the speakers, Surendra Borad, chairman of Gemini Corporation NV, Belgium, who is also the chairman of the Plastics Committee, BIR (Bureau of International Recycling) said, “Waste is an urban mine and should be treated like an urban mine. There are many business and employment opportunities within this sector. We are talking of a global recycling business of $500 billion which is increasing at a tremendous pace, every day.”

Knowing that the recycling business is not as developed in the Middle East as it is in other parts of the world, Borad was delighted to see the turnout of the delegates at the event indicating a strong interest to learn more about the regional and global aspects of the paper and plastics recycling business.

At the “Paper Recycling in the Middle East”  session, delegates heard from three important paper makers in the region. Atul Kaul, director, Pulp & Paper, Arab Paper Manufacturing Co., Mohammed Ahmed Mowkley, general manager, Obeikan Paper Industries Co., and Mubarak al-Khater, CEO, Saudi Paper Group, each provided insights into the activities of their companies and the paper recycling sector. Kaul and Mowkley commented on the growth occurring in the region while Al-Khater gave a summary of research into the quality and cost-effectiveness of recovered fibre grades that his firm has conducted.

In the second session of the day, ‘Plastics Recycling in the Middle East,’ Rajnish Sinha, business head (Middle East/ Africa), Bansal Petrochem International, provided a SWOT analysis on the PET recycling business in the Middle East. Pointing out opportunities offered by the increasing amount of waste in the region, he listed challenges due to the lack of a streamlined waste collection system leading of uncertainty of raw material as well.

Tarek- Al Mousa, chairman and managing director, Metal & Recycling Company, focused on the challenges of effectively maintaining the cash cycle while operating a recycling plant. He pointed out the lack of a customer base for end products made out of recycled material as one of the challenges in the local market, which leads to exporting rather than ‘closing the loop’ in the region.

Yazan El Jaouni, general manager, Doha Plastic, explained how maintaining the quality of recycled plastic granules and flakes proves to be a challenge in a recycling facility due to the lack of a pure steam of waste.

The ‘Recycling equipment & Technology’ session, technology and equipment providers showed how they can help waste management and recycling companies in their processes of sorting waste streams and recycling waste. Jonathan Clarke, Country Manager UK of TOMRA Sorting, Rolf Bjarell, Export Manager of Persona AB, and Steve Miller, CEO of Bulk Handling Systems explained the salient features of their products, which includes sorting machines and baling equipment.

In the ‘Global Recovered Paper Supply & Demand Trends’  session, speakers analysed the elements and factors affecting paper recyclers in the Middle East. Niels van Binsbergen, managing director, ACN Europe, Mark Mijnster, general manager, Cellmark Recycling and Ranjit Baxi, CEO of J&H International Ltd., spoke about the trends in the supply and demand of recycled paper globally.

On the second day of the conference, John Schneider, Contracts Manager, Centre of Waste Management, Abu Dhabi, while delivering the keynote address, explained the centre’s policies, activities, and ongoing projects with respect to waste collection, transportation, landfill, sorting, transportation and recovery of material.

Reinhard Wilkes, VP Operations, Bee’ah and Robin Dawson, Project manager, Emirates Environmental Technology, made a presentation each, to demonstrate how specific recycling plants in the Middle East operate to best serve the region. The delegates were also able to learn about best practices in integrated waste management and materials recovery from two case studies based on details such as infrastructure, statistics on waste collection in terms of waste types and tonnage, operational modules, sorting processes, and percentage of recovery of materials from the materials sorting and recovery facilities operated by Sharjah’s Bee’ah and Al Ain’s Emirates Environmental Technology.

During the session on, ‘The Future of Key Paper Grades,’ regional experts from paper mills utilizing recovered fibre for their end products, debated on the future of key paper grades and focused on aspects such as how the quality of recovered fibre can impact the quality of end products like tissue, containerboard and liner. Abdullah Al Moammar, managing director, Middle East Paper Company (MEPCO), Saudi Arabia, Helmut Berger, general manager, Abu Dhabi National Paper Mills, Ranjit Baxi, managing director, J&H Sales International and Rahul Kejriwal, CEO, Kejriwal Paper participated in the session which was moderated by Jim Keefe, Group Publisher, Recycling Today Media Group.

Another panel of global experts on plastics recycling were able to share their knowledge about the performance of plastic scrap in the region and the factors that impact its performance, the opportunities of exporting plastic scrap to giant consumers like China, and the future trends in the trading and recycling of plastic scrap. Surendra Borad, chairman, Gemini Corporation NV, Steve Farncombe, marketing manager, ACN Europe (UK) and Sunil Bagaria, president of GDB International, were the panellists in the session.   

The second day of the conference concluded with the session on residential collection, wherein waste collection projects and ‘segregation at source’ initiatives, currently underway in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Ajman were explained by representatives of Bee’ah, Center of Waste Management and Ajman’s AIMS Group, namely, Ibrahim Al Houti, VP Tandeef, Beea’h; John Schneider, contracts manager of The Center of Waste Management, Abu Dhabi and general manager of the AIMS Group, Harbinder Singh. 

The Paper and Plastics Recycling Conference Middle East was hosted by US-based Recycling Today Media Group and Dubai-based Media Fusion, the publisher of Waste and Recycling Middle East magazine. The event combined market driven sessions examining commodity markets for recovered paper and plastics in a global context, insights from local policy makers on regional waste and recycling management development and case studies of how the industry is being developed from local recyclers. This event was an extension of Recycling Today Media Group’s successful Paper Recycling Conference and Trade Show in the US and the Paper Recycling Conference in Europe.

About Waste & Recycling Middle East
Produced by Media Fusion FZE, Dubai, Waste and Recycling Middle East is the region’s only dedicated business magazine targeted to in-depth coverage of the rapidly emerging waste management and recycling industry throughout the Middle East. Produced by a team of leading journalists, the magazine provides unique insights into this dynamic marketplace. Waste & Recycling Middle East is read by senior managers and practitioners in the municipal, industrial, commercial and institutional waste sectors along with recyclers in different sectors in the region.

About the Recycling Today Media Group
Founded in 1963 the group publishes Recycling Today, Recycling Today Global Edition, Construction & Demolition Recycling and Storage & Destruction Business magazines as well as companion websites and e-newsletters. Additionally the group publishes the Paper Recycling Markets Directory and the North American Scrap Metals Directory. The group also produces The Paper Recycling Conference – USA, The Paper Recycling Conference – Europe and The C&D Recycling Forum. The Recycling Today Media Group is a business unit of GIE Media, Inc.

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