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Abu Dhabi rolls out RVMs

Seventy reverse vending machines (RVMs) are being rolled out across Abu Dhabi as part of a national drive to collect 20 million single-use plastic bottles a year for recycling.

The target has been set by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) as part of its ‘Mission to Zero’ public outreach campaign for zero waste, zero emissions, and zero harm to biodiversity, which was launched last year as part of a single-use plastic policy.

RVMs and smart bins are being placed in areas with high footfall such as the Corniche, Abu Dhabi airport, sports venues, malls, and educational institutions.

Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, secretary general, EAD, said they allow the community to place their single-use plastic bottles and aluminium cans for recycling and receive rewards for doing so.

‘Vital’ incentives

Speaking at a launch event, she said: ‘We have ensured that they are well located so that they are accessible, minimising the efforts for consumers to find them. We know that incentives are vital in this day and age to encourage consumers to change their behaviour and that is why these RVMs and smart bins will be a great tool for us to nurture a love for recycling by Abu Dhabi residents as a key step to build a circular system and reduce material flow.’

Recently, EAD revealed that retailers had reported logged a reduction of up to 95% in the numbers of plastic bags used after a ban was proclaimed on 1 June 2022. Within a year, 450 000 single-use plastic bags are being saved each day.

Mission to Zero includes a visually appealing outdoor campaign on buses, bridges and lamp posts and a series of public activations such as workshops, an intensive SMS campaign in four languages, and a heavy social media campaign.

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