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In a groundbreaking partnership, FrieslandCampina, a global dairy cooperative and the owner of the Rainbow milk brand in the Middle East, has teamed up with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) to spearhead one of the most extensive waste management and recycling campaigns in the UAE.

Aligned with the UAE's ambitious vision for waste management and the We The UAE 2031 national environmental protection plan, the initiative is a significant leap forward for FrieslandCampina. The company has committed to collecting a staggering 2 million Rainbow tins, weighing in at a substantial 100 tons. This marks a monumental increase from 2022’s collection of six tons and a total of 110,000 tins.

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This eco-conscious endeavour, orchestrated by FrieslandCampina in collaboration with the Ministry, Emirates Environmental Group, and RECAPP by Veolia, aims to engage about 30,000 students, aptly named Green Champions, across 27 schools by the end of the academic year.

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FrieslandCampina's multifaceted approach seeks to not only promote recycling practices for single-use plastics but also extend its reach through workshops and masterclasses, fostering continuous engagement with students in the UAE. Rainbow is ensuring the reusability of the collected cans through a strategic partnership with Emirates Steel, which will treat and reshape the cans for future use.

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Commenting on the launch, Othaibah Al Qaydi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector at MoCCAE, emphasised the collaboration's pivotal role in the UAE's journey towards a greener future. She highlighted the importance of private sector partnerships in climate action efforts, particularly in the context of COP28 hosted in Dubai.

"The private sector companies are vital partners in the UAE’s climate action efforts, and we value their contribution to our climate goals," said Al Qaydi. "COP28, hosted in Dubai, has underlined the strength of collaboration and innovations, such as the Recycle to Green Initiative, as tangible pathways to addressing the climate crisis. By engaging students, we are further highlighting the role that youth plays in promoting environmental sustainability.”

Ali Ahmed Khan, Vice President, Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan at FrieslandCampina, expressed gratitude for the unwavering support from stakeholders and partners, underscoring the opportune moment for sustainability initiatives in the UAE. "Our goal is to not only reduce single-use plastic waste but also foster continuous engagement through educational workshops,” said Khan.

Habiba Al Mar’ashi, Co-founder and Chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group, stressed the pivotal role of students as the sustainability leaders of the future. "To pave the way for a more sustainable tomorrow, we must empower their choices today," she said. "By nurturing their eco-consciousness and supporting their sustainable endeavours, we are sowing the seeds of a greener future."

Al Mar’ashi highlighted the collaborative journey with FrieslandCampina as an opportunity to empower the youth, cultivating eco-consciousness for a greener tomorrow.

“In May 2022, we joined forces with FrieslandCampina for a pilot programme to help collect and recycle Rainbow cans from the UAE’s tea shops,” said Jérôme Viricel, General Manager from RECAPP by Veolia. "Our efforts were aimed at delivering the UAE’s vision for waste management and achieving Dubai's goal of net zero waste by 2030. It brings us immense pride to see FrieslandCampina welcome greater collaborative effort in this journey and extend its mission to schools and UAE students, with a hope to empower the younger generation to embrace sustainability.”

Saeed Alghafri, CEO of Emirates Steel Arkan, emphasised the company's commitment to minimising waste and promoting a circular economy. “Through collaboration with FrieslandCampina on the Recycle to Green initiative, Emirates Steel Arkan aims to inspire young minds to become champions of environmental responsibility, placing the youth at the forefront of climate action,” said Al Ghafri.