Mohammad Nasser, managing partner at WMS Metal Industries LLC, demonstrates the enviro-waste separator system at the company’s factory in Jebel Ali. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: With the push of a button, tenants of some residential and office towers will soon be able to send recyclables to specific collection bins rather than discard large bags of mixed waste bound for the landfill, says a UAE eco firm.

The company has designed a new separation-at-source recycling system — that is pending patent in the United States — to help the environment and offset operating costs for owners of residential and office building units.

The new technology can be retrofitted into existing garbage chutes in buildings, says WMS Metal Industries, negating the need for major renovations and cutting down on capital expenses.

The system, already installed at Abu Dhabi Central Market as well as New York University on Saadiyat Island, is expected to be embraced by major developers in the years ahead across the country.

Mohammad Nasser, founder and managing partner at WMS Metal Industries, told Gulf News that the company’s Enviro-Waste Separator works in concert with tenants who sort recycled material at home in specific receptacles.

Segregating waste

Nasser said buttons installed at each floor’s chute station indicate plastic, glass or paper and once selected, will route the recycle bag to the specified recyclable container.

“The old chute is adjusted to sort different recyclables to segregated bins,” he said.

When each bin is filled at ground level, not only is the material diverted from the landfill, saving space for general waste in future, the recycled materials are then taken to a warehouse where it is bundled and sold on the market.

Each bin has an anti-theft device so that the materials are held safely until disposal to ensure the waste separator system continues to deliver income for building owners.

“One of the major problems in the UAE is the theft of recyclable materials. Some can be sold at Dh1,000 to Dh1,200 per tonne,” Nasser said.

Tracking waste disposal

Another revolutionary aspect of the system is that it enables building owners to track precisely which tenant is recycling materials to avoid any reusable materials from going into the central waste stream.

Tenants are provided with bar-coded tags that are attached to each bag before they are deep-sixed down the chutes.

“It’s in our best interest to give landlords a system that works,” Nasser said.

He said an education campaign can be set up in each building to help tenants understand the importance of ensuring each bag they discard is recycle-compliant. Posters and pamphlets are used to reinforce the message to recycle in the building.

Splitting income

The company, meanwhile, is offering its new closed-loop recycling system at a cost to building owners with a view to forming a partnership with each building owner to evenly split income from recyclables that are collected and then sold on the open market.

“We would share in the profits over the 10 years of the system,” Nasser said, noting that cash outlay for the system pays for itself as recyclables provide a return on investment.

“On a 20-storey building with 80 per cent occupancy with eight units on each floor, preliminary numbers show building owners could recoup costs within one-and-a-half years,” he said.

Under UAE laws, “building owners are free to sell off recyclables,” he said.