Value creation: Used cooking oil, wood waste, glass waste and end-of-life tyres added to list of recyclable waste streams restricted for export
Locally generated used cooking oil (UCO), waste motor oil and wood waste, have been added to as many as 11 different waste streams that are subject to export restrictions — part of a measure by Oman’s authorities to support the growth of a thriving recycling industry in the Sultanate.
According to Oman Environmental Services Holding Company (be’ah), the government-owned entity overseeing the management of the solid waste sector in the Sultanate, the list of “restricted” waste streams includes: Lead Acid Battery (LAB) waste, plastic waste, End-of-Life tyres, paper waste and cardboards, glass waste, ferrous waste, non-ferrous metal waste, and waste electrical and electronic equipment.
It follows the adoption of the ‘Circular Economy’ model in the management of all solid waste streams. This model advocates the application of the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ philosophy for all recyclable types of waste aimed at, on the one hand, stimulating the growth of economic activities around waste segregation, recycling and reuse, and on the other, reducing the amount of waste ultimately ending up in landfills.
With a view to retaining commercially valuable waste streams in-country, be’ah says it has been working with the Royal Oman Police (ROP) and other government agencies to “regulate and streamline the import and export of waste”.
Last November, be’ah announced a successful collaboration with the ROP’s online customs system Bayan to “digitalise and streamline the process of obtaining approvals” from both be’ah and the Environment Authority (EA).
“The system will also provide be’ah the opportunity to collect and maintain real and accurate data on waste quantity and its movement. As most recyclable waste of value was exported in the past, the data collected will unlock further opportunities for the Company by allowing it to assess the economic potential for local industries that can recycle this waste,” be’ah — part of Oman Investment Authority (OIA) — noted.
Following the restrictions on exports of recyclable waste streams, small-scale investments in recycling activities have begun to flourish in the Sultanate. The most striking example is that of used cooking oil (UCO), which has led to the emergence of a handful of plants designed and equipped to convert the waste into valuable biodiesel. Likewise, recycling activities are proliferating around paper and cardboard waste, Lead Acid Batteries, and End of Life tyres.
Significantly, be’ah has also identified an array of other waste streams that, it says, hold “immense economic potential through recycling”. The list includes green waste, End-of-Life Vehicles, scrap metal and fish waste, among others.
“be’ah continues to study their recyclable value and is working on developing strategies for their efficient collection, transportation and recycling. Over the coming years, be’ah will detail plans which, will ensure that optimal value is derived from these waste streams, while minimizing their environmental impact and achieving overall sustainability. For this, be’ah is looking to collaborate with local as well as international partners,” the company added.