View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fujairah Women’s College Takes the Lead

The Fujairah Women’s College (FWC) is giving to businesses and schools on the UAE’s East Coast a constructive lead in practical environmental concern.

Dr. Bill Lex, Director of the Fujairah Higher Colleges of Technology, and Ms. Donna Wilson, Head of Student Services, have been in long term discussions with the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG). With its help, three recycling bins (pictured) have now been installed within the College grounds.

The total cost of the three bins is Dh 10,800 and the purchase of the bins for the FWC was achieved through the sponsorship of Dulsco, a UAE-based company. EEG has connections with manufacturers who make the recycling bins in large and small sizes.

The staff and students of FWC are being encouraged to bring newspapers, aluminum cans and plastic bottles and put them into the appropriate bins. The recycling processes are performed at different recycling centres, hence the need for separating the various items at the collection point.

The EEG is a voluntary, non-government organization that pays for the transportation of the waste to the recycling depots. It makes arrangements with various recycling companies who promise to collect the waste within 48 hours of receiving a call to say that the bin is full.

The aim of the FWC project is to get all students and staff participating so that the recycling of waste will become part of their daily lifestyle. The College leadership realizes that this will require a long process of education. The FWC is involved in a competition with other colleges that are vying to win the EEG’s first prize, which is the latest laptop for the top performer in volume of waste collected for recycling.

The College had a launching ceremony on 10 April with an address by EEG Chairperson, Ms. Habiba Al Marashi, a speech by a student, a time for questions and answers and a celebration by students who brought some waste and made the first deposits. Following this, some awareness-raising activities such as a continuous Power Point display has been screened around the College. Teacher, Lukas van Veen says, “The FWC students are currently completing an integrated project entitled, ‘Reuse, Reduce and Recycle’. At the conclusion, students will be encouraged to formulate creative ideas on how waste can be reduced, reused and recycled at home and at the College. Their findings and recommendations will be given to the management of the FWC.”

Reducing Waste
The recycling project at the FWC is good news for several reasons. It will reduce the amount of waste that would otherwise go into landfill. Here is a summary of how long different products take to decompose:

Paper tissues: Three months
Apple cores: Up to six months
Cigarette butts: Three to five years
Chewing Gum: Five years
Plastic bags: 450 years
Aluminum cans: Up to 500 years
Plastic bottles: Up to 1,000 years
Glass bottles: Up to 4,000 years

Turn Old Into New
Dumping waste in rubbish tips is no longer recognized as the most appropriate solution for dealing with our unwanted material. Increasingly our waste is being regarded as a valuable resource.

Recycled newspaper can be turned into new paper, so think of the trees that we save as we recycle the Gulf News and the Khaleej Times.

Recycled aluminum is the most efficient material to recycle and can be turned into new cans indefinitely. This process only uses 5% of the energy it takes to produce aluminum from raw materials so recycling gives enormous energy savings.

Plastic is made from oil so the recycling of plastic bottles reduces oil consumption, and there is a saving of energy as old bottles are transformed into new containers.

At present, glass is not being collected from Fujairah but the EEG is working to secure a transporter and when this is found, a special receptacle for glass containers will be provided free of charge.

Giving a Lead
There are many schools and businesses throughout the UAE that are involved in similar Recycling Projects. At all stages of the process they have received invaluable help from EEG through workshops, conferences and the availability of posters and brochures. EEG Waste Manager Coordinator, Ms. Jasleen Bhinder says, “We are very happy to come to any organization in the UAE to provide education and we like to receive people at our Dubai office.” The FWC appears to be the first organization in Fujairah and on the UAE’s East Coast to install the recycling bins.

Steps Ahead
If you think your group might follow the lead of the FWC here are some steps:

1. Gather Information:
Check out the EEG web site, call the FWC for advice, promote the idea within your group, secure a green light from your organization to proceed and set up a Recycling group to manage the establishment and ongoing activities.

2. Choose the Size of the Bins:
All groups in the UAE have gone for the large size bins.

3. Select the Placement of your Bins:
Choose a spot that will provide easy access for cars, good visibility as a reminder to people to bring their waste, and security from vandalism or people wanting to use the bins for dumping any waste.

4. Pay for the Recycling Bins:
Gather the money within your organization or do what most groups do and find a sponsor. The Recycling Bins have an area where a sponsor’s logo can be displayed, offering the company valuable advertising space and declaring them to be conservators of the environment.

5. Order your Recycling Bins through the EEG.

6. Plan an Opening Ceremony when representatives from the EEG can officially launch the project.

7. Arrange regular Awareness Activities and Education to maintain attention.

8. Mark World Environment Day (5 June) on your organization’s calendar.

9. Send representatives to the annual EEG Award Ceremonies
(hopefully to collect your prize) and be inspired by the stories of others.

10. Encourage other organizations to establish a Recycling Project and share with them the lessons that you have learned through the process.

For Further Details Contact:
Fujairah Women’s College: Donna Wilson Email:

Regarding the RRR project: Lukas van Veen Email:

Emirates Environmental Group Email:
P O Box 7013

The Fujairah Women’s College needs to be congratulated for giving a strong lead. Hopefully this will inspire many other groups to follow suit.

Geoff Pound

Image: The three new recycling bins at the Fujairah Women’s College.

Further pictures, provided by the FWC, Dulsco and the EEG can be seen at the following link—The FWC Recycling Project Picture Gallery