Middlesex University Dubai’s ‘Serious About Sustainability’ week concluded on Thursday 24 October. The initiative, launched in collaboration with the University’s Institute of Sustainable Development, saw over 1,000 attendees throughout the week, with the aim of raising awareness of the need to recycle and change behaviour to ensure recycling is undertaken.
The University is already leading in the field of recycling having recently announced it would be the first university in the UAE to adopt a closed loop system for recycling. To drive forward the recycling activity, the University partnered with Simply Bottles who take the collected recycling material and turn it into promotional material such as caps and t-shirts.
Students commented that they had never witnessed such a level of commitment to recycling in so many young people during the ‘Serious About Sustainability’ week. More than 150 students worked on the week’s events, with guidance from their lecturers, the students themselves created educational games and other activities to raise awareness of the importance of recycling and its impact on the environment. Within hours of the week concluding, over 2,500 bottles that had been placed in the newly installed recycling bins were collected and diverted from landfill.
“Recycling is a fundamental part of the University’s strategy to develop sustainable practices, supporting the UAE government’s Vision 2021, and beyond.” Commented Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Director of Middlesex University Dubai.
Andrew Mackenzie, Lecturer in Business at the University and coordinator of the event said “I know the week was a huge success, not only for raising awareness but also the learning and development experience of over 150 foundation students who planned, set-up, and ran the events each day. Such experience of managing a live event is invaluable.”
The UAE is among the world’s highest consumers of single use plastic, less than 6% is currently recycled. Plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade and the majority ends up in the desert or oceans where it is consumed by animals and fish, contaminating the food chain and scaring the landscape. By recycling plastic bottles, organisations can play a key role in preventing plastic pollution and contributing to a circular economy – where plastic is recycled to make new products such as clothing and accessories. Simply Bottles is a not-for-profit recycling initiative that works with schools, businesses and other organisations to reduce plastic pollution and increase recycling rates of PET plastic in the UAE.