Dubai Consumer Mirror

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Recycling the understanding of recycling

I stayed in town during august this year. I didn't take anytime off during this summer. Going to the office was great - cause i was getting paid for doing .. well .. other than browsing the web for spy car photos, i was doing virtually nothing.

One mid august day, i decided to be useful.

I noticed that my company, being a major IT contractor for the almost each and every government department in the UAE, consumes large amounts of paper.

You see, the public sector appoints contractors via bidding. And to bid, you have to submit a tender .. in some cases, tenders can be so big, you need at least 3 boxes of masafi water to pack em in.

Anyhow, i was like, DAMN man .. all this paper is going to waste? what da hell? - so i do a little browsing and i get the number of Emirates Environment something something Association ..

Now, what i know from watching Oprah and reading about recycling, is that companies actually buy waste paper, tin and glass by the bulk (KGs or tons in sometime). They also offer recycling boxes and they come and empty them everyday ... kindda encouraging you to recycle

So i thought to myself, why not add a bit of corporate social responsibility with in our extremely boring corporate culture...

So, i call the Emirates recycling guys up and tell them that i am more than ready to contribute to the preservation of the UAE environment by recycling ridiculous amounts of paper ..

"so whenever you feel like it" i told the lady on the phone, "you can drop that recycling box anytime."
She goes like: "well there are 2 sizes - big and small.."
"do you have medium? .. its OK if you don't - i can live with small, as long as you empty it everyday"
"no, you have to drop it everyday!"
"OK," with a bit a confusion "i think we can handle that"
"and the box will cost you about 350 dirhams" or something like that..
"I have to pay for the box?! and what if i want the big box - how do i drop it everyday?"
"if you take the big box, we can come and clean it up"
"oh .. and i guess its more expensive .. "
"yes, Dhs 500 .... a month"
"OK .. so you want me to pay you money to buy a box which you want me to drop it everyday to your doorstep for you to take my paper, recycle it, sell it again, and make money out of it?"

Something is not right here ... almost everywhere I've been to, organizations and environmental groups knocked my door for old paper, glassware, plastic and tin. They offered me their services and their money to take my "recyclable" waste. That actually encouraged me to keep my trash separated and sorted out (organic, paper, glass ..etc) for them to recycle it.

But here, i have to actually pay for that? Even that i have to pay for it?

Somewhere within the walls of Emirates Environment "Enterprises", someone must've totally missed the point!


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