The region’s first Paper and Plastics Recycling Conference (PPRC), which was held on Feb.27 to 28 in Dubai. It was officially inaugurated by Dr Mariam Al Shenasi, acting undersecretary of the minister of environment, UAE, on behalf of Dr Rashid Bin Fahad, minister of environment and water. Dr Mariam Al Shenasi drew the attention of the audience to the UAE’s 2030 Sustainability Programme, ‘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, 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 per cent 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. 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. He said: “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.” 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, GM, Obeikan Paper Industries and Mubarak al-Khater, CEO, Saudi Paper Group, provided insights into the activities of their companies. 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.