UAE intends to build first food-grade plastic recycling plant

To promote the circular economy, growth of sustainable industries
UAE intends to build first food-grade plastic recycling plant
(Third and fourth from the right, respectively) Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber and Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (Photo Credit: UAE's MoIAT)

UAE’s Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) oversaw the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which will lay the groundwork for a new plastic recycling facility in the UAE.

Under the plans, a 12,000 tons 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 square meter facility in Abu Dhabi could create 100 jobs and avoid the emission of 18,000 metric tons of CO2 annually at full operating capacity. 

Read more: UAE’s BEEAH advances the Sharjah waste-to-hydrogen project

The MoU to study the feasibility of the project, which involves Veolia Middle East subsidiary Repeet, along with BEEAH Group, and Agthia, was signed in the presence of Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Executive Director of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

Under the agreement, UAE-based 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.

Omar Al Suwaidi said: “As we approach COP28, the ministry will continue to amplify the important initiatives that fall under the national industrial strategy.”

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.

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