The national reported that half a billion drinks cans are sold in the Emirates each year, but just 5% of them are recycled, far below the 63% global recycling rate.
Emirates Environmental Group has been working for more than a decade to try and drive home to consumers that cans should be diverted from landfills because they still have plenty of value even after they're empty.
The group previewed its 14th annual aluminium can collection campaign, which will involve mass collections on February 24 and May 7 at 94 points throughout the country.
Habiba al Marashi co founder and chairperson of the EEG said that "There is a lot of value in that single can that is thrown away. We do not look at aluminium cans as waste. They are a valuable raw material."
The Dubai based Lucky Group, for example, is one company that is turning cans the EEG collects, as well as old window and door frames and car parts, into gleaming new bars of the metal. Those are then sold on the international market to companies that produce cars, plane parts even new beverage cans.
Sabika Shaban senior marketing coordinator at the company is one of the easiest materials to recycle said that "Theoretically, it is hundred per cent recyclable.”
In the UAE, recycling also helps conserve rapidly vanishing landfill space a key point in a country which generates so much waste.
Recycling aluminium also just makes sense in a world of rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions, where energy saving is increasingly important.
Marashi said that about 1% of global carbon dioxide emissions are attributed to aluminium production. Extracting aluminium from bauxite rock is very energy intensive, but recycling aluminium requires only 5% of the energy needed to produce virgin material.