About 10% of Plastic is Recycled in GCC Countries

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman—has a long way to go with plastic recycling.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman—has a long way to go with plastic recycling.

 

According to an article in the Saudi Gazette, the GCC countries recycle only 10% of plastic. This is in comparison to the U.S., which has a plastic recycling rate of 34%. The European Union member states have a recycling rate of 36.5%. Per the article:

 

“Currently, less than 10% of all plastic is recycled in the Gulf region, and our industry plays a significant role in contributing to the sheer volume of plastics in the marketplace,” said Kaunain Shahidi, senior packaging manager for Almarai, the largest dairy company in Saudi Arabia. “The race is on for all of us to implement eco-friendly materials into our packaging and collectively commit to investment into new innovations and technology to fast-track change. It is also a shared responsibility to communicate with the end user and stress the importance of reducing consumption and, where possible, supporting local and regional recycling initiatives.”

 

Tommy See Tho, packaging and design manager for Nestle Middle East, believes that in the next 12 months there should be an increase in demand for packaging, particularly for flexible packaging. One of the biggest challenges he sees in the packaging and polymers industry for the Middle East is the manufacturing quality of the suppliers in the region due to the lack of knowledge and experience as compared to more matured countries (U.S., Europe, Far East Asia).

 

R. Rangaprasad, director of the SIES School of Packaging & Packaging Technology Center, said while he believes the Middle East packaging industry is poised for strong growth, a big challenge for the packaging and polymers industry will be the volatility in polymer prices.

 

The packaging industry will have a compounded annual growth rate of 4.27% by 2016. The annual consumer expenditure on food in the UAE was $23.3 billion in 2011 and grew at a CAGR of 14.52% during the review period. As the UAE is a large consumer of packaged foods, this is expected to stimulate the demand for packaging products in the country, he said.

 

Shahidi and Tho will present during the inaugural Gulf Packaging & Polymers Show (GPPS) which will take place on Feb. 1-3, 2016 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The two-day conference, which will feature more than 20 industry speakers from across the region and international markets, will cover a spectrum of current industry topics from the latest developments in convenience packaging to smart labels and advancement in tracking technology. A three-day exhibition will be running alongside the conference.

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