Dubai: Some 4,200kg of empty soda cans — around 315,000 in total — that would have been dumped in UAE landfills were saved on Thursday and are now on their way to be recycled. Expect them to be back on the shelves after 60 days.

The aluminium cans collected in the Can Collection Drive of the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) if stacked on top of each other would be equivalent to roughly 48 Burj Khalifas, each at 828m high.

To contextualise the importance of this ecological savings further, Habiba Al Marashi, EEG Chairperson, said the energy required to produce a single aluminium can power a TV set for three hours. If we again calculate, this means the energy used to manufacture all these cans could power a TV set for 945,000 hours or 107.8 years.

So it’s a shame to just let these cans go to waste, Al Marashi said.

“By collecting cans and ensuring that not even a single can is going to the landfill, what am I doing? We are creating multiple impacts. We are saving energy, water, space in the landfill, transportation costs. So we have really contributed immediately, directly to the conservation of resources in the global level,” Al Marashi told Gulf News.

“If we focus more on this process, it’s more cost-effective. The cans are sent to recycling facilities and are melted. The energy required to melt one can is just 5 per cent of the total energy required to create one can. So you are literally saving 95 per cent of energy when you recycle. Don’t forget how that translates in reduction of CO2 emissions,” she added.

Now in its 20th year, another can collection drive is scheduled in October. Since 1997 until 2016, EEG and its partner donors have successfully collected a total 278,672kg of aluminium cans, which has resulted in the mitigation of 4,182 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide and saved 6,764 m3 landfill space.

Some 150 entities, from the public and private sector, contributed to the drive in nine collection points across the country. The biggest donor is Emirates Flight Catering, which gives roughly 900kg to 1,200kg cans every year. Majority of the donors were hotels and schools.

Jocelyn Lapure, HR manager of Accor MAF Group of Hotels, and her team dropped 30kg of cans. She said: “We always collect cans throughout the year because sustainability is part of our company’s CSR activities.”

Sabiha Shaikh, Activity and Environment coordinator at Dubai Gems Private School, accompanied some schoolchildren to drop 60kg of cans they had collected for three weeks on Thursday. “Dubai being a wasteful city, we want these kids to know the value of everything and the best way to do that is through recycling,” she said.

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