UN-Habitat, in cooperation with Nestle Waters, Diageo, Arcadis IBI Group and Development Inc. organized a side event during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) under the title “Transitioning towards a circular economy: Innovation in plastic and glass waste recycling”, addressing the challenges and solutions of solid waste management in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
During the session, moderated by Dr. Laila Iskandar, Former Minister of Environment and State for Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements in Egypt and Founder of CID Consulting, experts from UN-Habitat and the partner organizations showcased the achievements of the “Plan Zero” and “Dorna” initiatives in advancing innovative solutions in plastic and glass waste recycling to support the transition towards a circular economy.
“UN-Habitat is committed to taking transformative measures towards creating a circular economy and raising awareness of the social, economic and environmental benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling glass and plastic waste” said Dr. Erfan Ali, UN-Habitat Regional Representative for the Arab States.
Each partner presented its efforts, all moving toward more sustainable and greener approaches through glass and plastic collection and recycling, as well as protecting, renewing and restoring natural resources.
“Our Bottled Water packaging can be fully circular and has a central role to play in a circular economy: it has value, is recyclable, is collectable and can be used as recycled content,” Mr. Rasem Dabbas, Business Executive Officer Nestle Waters Egypt, said. “It is crucial that more PET plastic is collected, to increase the availability of feedstock, to achieve greater circularity. Advancing circular economy requires systemic transformation, and we take it as our responsibility to be at the forefront of this transformation. That’s why in Egypt Nestlé Pure life was the first Bottled Water brand to revolutionize packaging through the launch of the first recycled water bottles made of 100% recycled plastics.”
“We’re proud to be all setting bolder and ambitious targets to help us transition towards a circular economy and more sustainable world,” Ziad Karam, Diageo Corporate Relations Director, MENA, commented. “What we can reuse we will reuse and what we can’t reuse we will recycle. Our collaboration and partnership in Plan Zero help us accelerate our executions and scale to create best practices and positive consumer and customers experience with our packaging and glass.”
The “Plan Zero” initiative is a regional alliance that aims at reducing carbon footprint in the targeted countries – Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt– by diverting packaging waste from landfills, water bodies and the environment, through retrieving recyclables and non-recyclable plastic, fiber, glass and metal packaging material.
In Lebanon and Jordan, water bottles are being collected from consumers through reverse vending machines. In Egypt, the “Dorna” initiative undertakes the collection, recovery and recycling of post-consumer plastics through tracking and documenting the movement of material along the value chain to the final manufacturing point.
“It is time that the construction industry fully embraces and takes the circular economy seriously. At the core of our designs is sustainability, so naturally Arcadis IBI Group is excited to further enhance and infuse into design the innovative Rejects of Glass and Plastic (ROGP) technology and not only into buildings but also across critical engineering designs. From the pipes and engineering systems to the places we live in and the furniture we sit in, there is an opportunity to re-use these resources and truly achieve a circular economy,” Hassan Ktaech, Associate, Built Environment of Arcadis IBI Group, said.
In 2016, the MENA region generated 129 million tons of waste of which only 9% are being recycled and the vast majority disposed of in open fields and dumpsites. The region is expected to double its waste generation by 2050. Glass and plastic waste comprise almost 15 percent of the total waste generated in the region.
“The packaging problem has proved to be one of the most pressing environmental issues the world is facing. We are happy that we are working with the producers and UN-Habitat to sort this issue out in an impactful way in Lebanon and Jordan and soon in Egypt and more MENA countries,” Mohamed Daoud, CEO of Development Inc, stated. “Development Inc’s role is to design and implement the project towards this target using out of the box impactful methods, while maintaining a flawless traceability for the operations. We are grateful to the opportunity that was given to us by UN-Habitat to implement these methods around the targeted areas.”
The COP, which is the main decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is held every year, to assesses the measures of the parties to limit climate change. This year COP27 is held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 to 18 November.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Habitat.