UAE’s Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) on January 17 oversaw the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which will lay the groundwork for new plastic recycling facility in the UAE.
The MoU was signed between Veolia Middle East subsidiary Repeet, environmental management group Bee’ah, and F&B conglomerate Agthia Group.
The partnership comes in line with MoIAT’s recent ministerial decree regulating the manufacturing and trade of recycled plastic water bottles and this opportunity is in-line with the UAE’s Net Zero Carbon target “2050” and Make It In The Emirates Initiative.
Under the plans, a 12,000 tonnes per annum polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling plant has been earmarked for Abu Dhabi. In line with the UAE’s efforts to reduce plastic pollution and boost trade through the export of recycled materials, the plant will recycle PET, a plastic material that is used in food packaging, such as plastic water bottles. The 40,000 sq m facility in Abu Dhabi could create 100 jobs and avoid the emission of 18,000 metric tonnes of CO2 annually at full operating capacity.
In the frame of the project under study, Repeet would operate the recycling plant, while BEEAH Group would supply a seven-year feedstock of plastics. Meanwhile, Agthia would provide a seven-year offtake for products. The feedstock will be post-consumed PET bottle bales while the offtakes will be food grade recycled PET resin.
The MoU to study the feasibility of the project was signed in the presence of Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Executive Director of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators, His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
Omar Al Suwaidi said: “Collaboration is the key driver behind the shift towards a more sustainable industrial sector and a greener economy. Accordingly, the ministry focuses on facilitating partnerships between stakeholders, including financial institutions, national industrial companies, and global corporations, with the aim of supporting GDP growth as well as the UAE’s net zero strategic initiative.
Al Suwaidi added: “As we approach COP28, the ministry will continue to amplify the important initiatives that fall under the national industrial strategy. For instance, we will utilize Make it in the Emirates to attract international investors and companies to engage with the UAE’s industrial sector to help us unlock the opportunities associated with industrial transformation, and circular economy. These opportunities will ultimately help to build a more sustainable, efficient and competitive industrial sector, supporting not only the national economy, but also the global climate agenda.”
Plastic pollution causes major damage to the environment and in particular ocean ecosystems. But by managing plastics effectively, countries can protect the environment while also supporting economic growth and the development of a local circular economy. The recycled plastics market is expected to grow significantly as companies pivot towards using recycled materials in their products. The market for recycled materials is expected to top $46 billion by 2025.
“The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology played an essential role to create a favorable environment for the development of circular economy projects in the UAE”, Pascal Grante CEO of Veolia Near & Middle East said. “The PET recycling plant is a part of this momentum as it follows 2 years of fruitful cooperation with the UAE public sector. The project is now ready to welcome more partners to help take it to the next level. We are proud of being part of this exciting journey towards ecological transformation”
Alan Smith, CEO of Agthia Group, said: “The new ministerial decree that has enabled this partnership is a positive step towards the transition from a linear to a circular economy and we welcome the foresight and commitment of the UAE’s leadership to this important agenda. Reducing waste to an absolute minimum, better managing the planet’s resources and designing all our products with a more sustainable future in mind is at the heart of Agthia’s strategy for long-term growth. Our previous endeavours with Veolia have laid solid foundations and achieved good results in this regard and we believe that this new collaboration further demonstrates our long term commitment to initiatives that are for the better of the environment, the economy and our consumers.
Following the signing, Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH Group, said: “Aligning closely with the national vision and contributing to the UAE’s sustainability targets have been the driving force for our organisation as we develop and implement circular economy solutions through our waste management business. Through this agreement, we can now further support the UAE’s sustainability agenda and accelerate the circular economy. We are honoured to partner with MoIAT, Repeet and Veolia to tackle the important issue of plastic pollution and make a positive impact together on a larger scale.”
This partnership comes in line with MoIAT’s recent ministerial decree regulating the trade of recycled plastic water bottles. The move aims to facilitate the manufacturing of water bottles using recycled plastic in line with top public health and food safety standards. With time, more local water bottling companies are expected to embrace this circular economy journey and introduce more and more recycled plastic to produce their packaging. This is projected to reduce avoid 50,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, to enhance the national in-country value by AED 150 million annually, and to create more than 1000 jobs.
MoIAT works closely with industrial stakeholders, including financial institutions, to leverage incentives and enablers that lead to a business-friendly environment that is attractive to investors. As part of the UAE’s national industrial strategy, the ministry has introduced various programs and initiatives that support the sustainable development of priority sectors, contributing to the nation’s economic diversification.