Dubai building owners can save up to 62% of tipping fees by segregating waste

  • Landfill fees for general waste start at AED 80 per tonne, segregated waste for recycling is AED 30 per tonne – saving could be worth AED 250,000 over 3 years says expert

Owners and management companies of commercial and residential buildings, might be in for a shock in June when they receive their initial invoices for waste collection and disposal when Dubai Municipality (DM) applies its latest tipping fees at Dubai landfill sites.

All buildings in the emirate will soon be charged a new fee of AED 80 per tonne for general waste disposal which is proposed to go up by AED 10 per annum to AED 100 per tonne by 2020 and more beyond. Currently, DM is only charging a AED 10 gate fee per trip for trucks to dump waste at its landfill sites.

But many savvy building owners or management companies will have already realised that by segregating their waste they can save up to 62% of their waste management tipping fees, the discounts for which are applied by DM at the point of landfill, in addition to collection and transportation costs.

“Making a rough estimate – let’s say approximately 100 office workers are employed on each floor of a twenty-storey building, or guests in the case of a hotel, each generating 2.3 kilos of general waste each day, costing AED 80 -100 per tonne, over a three-year period. That works out to AED 134,000 in year one; AED 151,000 in year two and 168,000 in year three – potentially a total of AED 453,000.

“However, if management companies could save AED 50 per tonne by segregating their waste ready for recycling, over three years, savings of more than AED 250,000, could be achieved, money that could be invested into other onsite recycling initiatives, such as implementing a bin-less office.

“Removing bins and replacing them with a central recycling facility, makes staff more aware of the amount of waste they produce and with the appropriate training, encourages them to give greater consideration to what they actually throw away, reducing waste and enhancing recycling efforts,” said Oberlin.

Farnek is a leader in sustainability, underscoring its credentials is its own internet-based software, ‘Optimizer’, a benchmarking tool which allows a building’s energy, water and waste to be measured and benchmarked against similar buildings over time. Hotel Optimizer was especially designed for the hospitality sector to provide a holistic mechanism for analysing not only energy and water but also waste management and recycling efforts.

“Companies and hotels adopting a waste management strategy based on reduce, reuse and recycle, should achieve significant cost-savings, those that don’t may find that a policy of disregard and dispose, simply leads to financial dismay and a negative effect on the environment. However, you must be able to measure and benchmark your waste performance, otherwise you cannot manage it,” said Oberlin.

The ‘pay as you throw’ waste fee introduced by DM, will be brought in on 17 May 2018, which will coincide with the onset of the holy month of Ramadan. It will be applicable to the waste generated by commercial establishments, factories, private and public institutions as well as residential communities and freehold properties belonging to developers that are served by private waste collection companies,” he said.

The new tipping fee will be charged to waste management companies that provide collection, transport and tipping services on a contractual basis. These companies will in turn charge building owners and management companies for the turnkey service.

The UAE has one of the highest waste generation rates, with each person in the country estimated to produce on average up to 2.3 kilos of waste every day and Dubai alone generates 8,200 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day, according to figures released in 2016 – 15% above the global average

“Sadly, according to some experts up to 60% of what currently lies in landfill could have been recycled,” said Oberlin.

Federal government aims to reduce this to 900 grammes per capita as per the UAE’s National Agenda 2021 and Dubai has set a target to reduce 75% of rubbish going to landfills by 2021, with the goal of ultimately achieving zero landfill by 2030.