Posted on January 15, 2014

With the GCC states having among the highest rates of waste output per capita in the world, there is an increasing need to develop innovative solutions and new business opportunities that promote sustainable waste management, including recycling infrastructure and waste-to-energy technologies.

Companies participating in the inaugural EcoWASTE exhibition in Abu Dhabi, hosted by Masdar, will illustrate the potential to integrate sustainable waste management best practice in the region – with lessons to be learnt from around the world, and closer to home.

Among the 50 local and international suppliers on the exhibition floor from January 20-22, Swedish company Avfall Sverige will be displaying its expertise in the waste-to-energy sector .Around 50% of Sweden’s solid waste is converted into sustainable energy.

According to Avfall Sverige CEO Weine Wiqvist, supportive policy frameworks helped accelerate the adoption of waste-to-energy in his home country.

“Waste management is seen as a public service and there is a clear division of roles and responsibilities that enable necessary investments in, for example, infrastructure. In addition, we can rely on long-term regulations and economical steering instruments, as well as on the co-operation between municipalities and also between the public and private sectors.”

In the UAE, the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah have set bold targets for reducing the amount of solid waste they send to landfill. Sharjah is targeting zero-waste-to-landfill by 2015 and Abu Dhabi aims to divert 85% of its waste from dumping grounds by 2018.

Qatar’s ambitious foray into waste-to-energy indicates the lucrative business opportunities in the emerging sustainable waste management sector.

How does it feel to fly with the best ?

Completed in 2011, Qatar’s Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre (DSWMC), the first of its type in the GCC, comprises a state-of-the-art waste sorting and recycling facility, an engineered landfill, a composting plant, and a 1,500 tonnes per day capacity waste-to-energy incineration plant.

Keppel Seghers, the Singaporean company which designed and built the complex, will showcase its DSWMC technology at the inaugural EcoWASTE.

“A number of Middle East countries are considering waste-to-energy as a viable and cost-effective means to address the mounting problem of municipal waste output and Qatar has led by example,” said Dr Johan De Greef of Keppel Seghers.

“The DSWMC facility is entirely self-sufficient in power and actually exports 35 megawatts of its total output of 50 megawatts to the national grid. What’s more, 95% of the waste it receives is diverted from landfill.”

Naji El Haddad, EcoWASTE Show Director, added: “With large-scale sustainable waste management projects now being implemented in the region, the ability of Middle East countries to reduce the environmental and financial burden of their growing populations has been significantly enhanced.”

“The business potential of sustainable waste management is also set to be transformed, and with the involvement of more than 50 local and international suppliers and 2,000 industry professionals, the first EcoWASTE exhibition is providing a gateway to a multi-billion dollar industry.”

The inaugural EcoWASTE will be held in partnership with TADWEER-CWM and is co-located with the 7th annual World Future Energy Summit and the second International Water Summit, also hosted by Masdar.

Addressing the Middle East’s growing waste disposal challenges and recycling needs, EcoWASTE is also a key event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, an annual platform to address the inter-connected challenges impacting the widespread adoption of renewable energy and the acceleration of sustainable development.