Waste paper crunch hampers UAE’s recycling mill


Dubai: Your waste paper can be recycled into cardboard in just one hour. However so few people are handing in their paper to be recycled that the UAE’s only paper mill has to either buy from traders or watch it being shipped for recycling abroad.

Other recycling facilities around the city are set up by traders or waste companies that sell the cardboard to be recycled overseas, increasing its carbon footprint.

With the technology available to recycle waste from the UAE in the UAE, there is no need to send valuable materials somewhere else, said Huzaifa Rangwala, from Union Paper Mills (UPM), the paper recycling mill in the UAE.

Since 1987 the Dubai-based mill has been turning cardboard and paper to pulp to give it a new lease of life as much-needed cardboard for packaging companies. There is not enough demand to recycle the pulp into paper, said Rangwala.


Segregating paper and cardboard from other types of rubbish, especially liquids and food, is important to make sure efforts to separate your garbage are not wasted. Usually dirty paper will end up in a landfill because it costs too much to clean.

Just one quarter of the volume UPM can recycle is picked up from their recycling centres across the city. “Our capacity is 410 tonnes per day. To produce that we need 450 tonnes per day.

“If we cannot meet our demand we have to buy in bulk from traders who usually export it to recyclers abroad,” said Rangwala. UPM buys one tonne of cardboard for approximately Dh600.