The Middle East Centre’s latest hybrid webinar focused on social responsibility and specifically on sustainability. The webinar featured Emma Barber, Managing Director at Dubai-based DGrade, which is partnering with the University to create more awareness of the need for sustainability and how to take practical steps to make an impact. Emma’s presentation - What is sustainability? How can we contribute towards a circular economy? – covered what it means to be sustainable, why we should recycle, the issues concerning pollution, the facts about plastic, and what the circular economy means.
Plastic takes hundreds, if not thousands of years to decompose in landfill and 95% of all plastic ever created is still in existence today. It can cause major environmental damage and harm animals when not disposed of properly. 50% of camel deaths in the UAE are due to plastic ingestion. Plastic bottles are made from oil - a finite resource – and only low volumes go to recycling while most goes to landfill.
PET1 is the easiest plastic to recycle and the most recycled type of plastic – it is commonly used for bottling beverages like water, soda and juice, because they are hygienic and re-sealable making them convenient and easy to carry. Plastic PET is lightweight which reduces costs and carbon emissions in transportation compared to materials like glass. They are also safe and cost-effective to produce. More than 4 billion plastic water bottles are produced every year in the UAE.
Award-winning DGrade is taking practical steps to making a circular economy a reality. The company believes that sustainable manufacturing solutions are the only way to protect the earth and our future. In response to increasing demand for sustainable products from consumers and a growing need to address plastic pollution, DGrade has developed Greenspun® a high-quality yarn made from recycled plastic water bottles. Greenspun® yarn replaces traditional polyester yarn to produce a wide range of fabrics for clothing and accessories. DGrade is the only company to manage the full supply chain from plastic bottle collection through to clothing production.
There are practical steps to close the loop; Simply Bottles is a DGrade initiative that works with businesses, schools, events and other organisations to increase recycling rates of plastic water bottles, by facilitating recycling collection and engaging clients through workshops and events to promote recycling and sustainability. Plastic collected through the Simply Bottles initiative is recycled by DGrade into Greenspun® yarn for clothing production.
Partnering for a Circular Economy
The University is working with DGrade and using indoor and outdoor recycle bins to collect bottles through the Middle East Centre and at all workshops and events venues. Students and alumni can also drop off bottles at the centre. The bottles are collected by Dgrade, recycled and transformed into merchandise which the University buys and distributes to students during workshops and events. University branded items include face masks, bags, tees, and caps. The centre will also gift bins to corporate partners and hotels so they can start the recycling process. Everyone has a role to play.