| COVER STORY

Me­hak Sri­vas­tava speaks to Bee’ah Group CEO, Khaled Al Huraimel about the com­pany’s achieve­ments, goals, and strate­gies

LogisticsNews Middle East - - Contents - Pho­tos by Fa­rooq Sa­lik

Khaled Al Huraimel of Bee’ah dis­cusses the en­vi­ron­men­tal com­pany’s jour­ney over the years

Ex­pan­sive views of a true-blue Khalid La­goon are the first thing that greet you as you step into the sunlit con­fer­ence room at the cur­rent Bee’ah Shar­jah of­fice. “We’ll soon be mov­ing to our new head­quar­ters,” men­tions Khaled Al Huraimel, group CEO, Bee’ah. “An of­fice that is set to be a true bench­mark for all sus­tain­able projects com­ing up in the re­gion.”

Bee’ah’s new 7,000sqm head­quar­ters, lo­cated on a 90,000sqm site ad­ja­cent to the Bee’ah Waste Man­age­ment Cen­tre, is said to fur­ther bol­ster Bee’ah’s im­age as an or­gan­i­sa­tion that not only aims to man­age and re­duce waste, but to also cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment fit for the fu­ture. The site was com­mis­sioned to renowned ar­chi­tec­ture firm Zaha Ha­did Ar­chi­tects, fol­low­ing a 2013 in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

A STEADY RISE

Es­tab­lished in 2007 as a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship, Bee’ah be­gan its jour­ney as an en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment com­pany for the emi­rate of Shar­jah, with just 40 em­ploy­ees un­der its wing. To­day, it boasts of a work­force of more than 7,000 em­ploy­ees, all ded­i­cated to mak­ing the world a bet­ter place to live in, one ini­tia­tive at a time. It has ex­panded its busi­ness to other parts of the UAE, with mu­nic­i­pal ser­vice con­tracts for the re­gions of Dibba, Mleiha, Kalba, Al Madam, Ham­riya, Khor­fakkan, and Al Batayeh. Bee’ah also holds the con­tract for Abu Dhabi Lot 1, formed through a part­ner­ship with Tad­weer, the Cen­tre of Waste Man­age­ment, Abu Dhabi, the largest mu­nic­i­pal con­tract out­side Shar­jah.

“We ini­tially fo­cused all our ef­forts to­wards re­duc­ing waste,” says Huraimel. “Waste is a big prob­lem in the re­gion, with one of the high­est rates of waste gen­er­a­tion per capita in the world, at 2.5kg per per­son, per day. The emi­rate of Shar­jah alone has a pop­u­la­tion of 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple, and the to­tal amount of an­nual waste is al­most three mil­lion tonnes.”

The is­sue is a de­fin­i­tive cause for con­cern. A Frost & Sul­li­van study pre­dicted that to­tal waste gen­er­ated by GCC was set to in­crease from 94 mil­lion mega­tonnes (MT) in 2015 to as high as 120 mil­lion MT per an­num by 2020. The re­port also high­lighted that GCC is not equipped to han­dle this level of waste gen­er­a­tion through the ex­ist­ing land­fill­ing strate­gies, and adop­tion of al­ter­nate han­dling mech­a­nisms to deal with the prob­lem of in­creas­ing waste was re­quired.

Huraimel re­marks: “Bee’ah is owned 50% by the Shar­jah City Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, and 50% by the pri­vate sec­tor, the rea­son be­ing that we wanted the pub­lic sec­tor to con­tinue to play a key role in the suc­cess of meet­ing the ob­jec­tives.

“To­day, Bee’ah is the only in­te­grated waste man­age­ment com­pany in this re­gion— we don’t just col­lect the waste and clean the streets, we also man­age land­fills, seg­re­gate, and re­cy­cle the waste. We also con­vert waste to en­ergy. We’ve set a ‘zero waste to land­fill’ tar­get for Shar­jah, out of which we’ve al­ready reached just over 76%, which is the high­est diversion rate of waste away from land­fill in the Mid­dle East.”

Bee’ah’s em­ploy­ees con­sist of both trained pro­fes­sion­als, as well as in­di­vid­u­als who are later trained on site. Huraimel com­ments: “When we first set up, we brought the ex­per­tise from abroad, sign­ing con­tracts with gov­ern­ments from Europe, for ex­am­ple the Nether­lands, one of the most ad­vanced coun­tries in waste man­age­ment. We signed an MOU with the Nether­lands gov­ern­ment, and did the same thing with Novo Sco­tia, Canada.

“Over time, we started build­ing our own ex­per­tise and now most of our ex­per­tise is in­house. The UAE mar­ket and the Mid­dle East mar­ket, in terms of waste, is dif­fer­ent than other mar­kets. Hence, we do not copy other mar­kets, we adapt to what is re­quired. That’s why we’ve been very suc­cess­ful.”

RE­DUCE, RE­USE, RE­CY­CLE

Bee’ah op­er­ates across five main di­vi­sions— waste man­age­ment, en­ergy, sus­tain­abil­ity, tech­nol­ogy, and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment. Within waste man­age­ment, its arms are Tan­deef, Tad­weer, and Resid­u­als Man­age­ment.

Huraimel con­tin­ues: “We han­dle all types of waste— from mu­nic­i­pal solid wastes, to res­i­den­tial wastes, to med­i­cal wastes, tyres, we man­age it all. Our waste col­lec­tion and street clean­ing arm Tan­deef col­lects waste from all parts of Shar­jah, and brings it to our Waste Man­age­ment Cen­tre (WMC) in Al Saj’ah.” Tan­deef also op­er­ates across the emi­rates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Aj­man; some of its most no­table clients in­clude Burj Khal­ifa, Dubai World Trade Cen­tre, TECOM, and Ma­rina Mall. In 2015, Bee’ah launched the Tan­deef smart eco-fleet, that are low-noise, col­lect and clean bins si­mul­ta­ne­ously, and run on com­pressed nat­u­ral gas (CNG). Other smart fea­tures in­clude ‘smart rout­ing’, a Gpsmapped sys­tem that fea­tures the dis­patch on de­mand (DOD) op­tion; and ‘smart bins’, which senses the waste in­side the bin and sends dis­patch to ve­hi­cles per sec­tor for col­lec­tion. The bins are col­lected when they’re full, or in case of non-full bins, the col­lec­tion is per­formed within two days to avoid in­sects and un­san­i­tary bins.

The land­fill site at Al Saj’ah was trans­formed in 2009 to a so­phis­ti­cated safe dis­posal site that al­lows for sys­tem­atic seg­re­ga­tion and waste pro­cess­ing. As step one, the waste is di­rec­tion to the Ma­te­rial Re­cov­ery Fa­cil­ity (MRF), the Mid­dle East’s largest and world’s third largest such fa­cil­ity. Here, re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als are seg­re­gated from mu­nic­i­pal waste, via me­chan­i­cal and man­ual pro­cesses. The MRF pro­cesses over 1,000 tonnes of gen­eral waste daily, of which an es­ti­mated 67% gets re­cy­cled and thus di­verted from the land­fill.

The re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als are car­ried for­ward; the WMC in­cludes a num­ber of re­cy­cling ameni­ties, al­low­ing for proper han­dling of all waste ma­te­ri­als. These in­clude fa­cil­i­ties for tyres, con­struc­tion and de­mo­li­tion waste, med­i­cal waste, liq­uid waste, med­i­cal waste, cars and other metal, e-waste dis­man­tling and pro­cess­ing, and a com­post plant.

Huraimel ex­plains: “Our tyre re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity is one of the most ad­vanced in the re­gion, us­ing cryo­genic tech­nol­ogy. The tyres are con­verted to crumb rub­ber, which can be used in play­grounds, jog­ging tracks, rub­berised as­phalt roads, etc. Plus, given the scale of in­fra­struc­ture projects in the re­gion, our con­struc­tion and de­mo­li­tion fa­cil­ity pro­cesses that waste into five dif­fer­ent ag­gre­gates or sizes, which is used in in­fra­struc­ture projects and roads, re­cy­cling it al­most 99%.

“Wekaya, es­tab­lished in 2011, is a pre­mier fa­cil­ity to re­cy­cle med­i­cal waste, es­tab­lished through a joint ven­ture. Our car and metal shred­ding and re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity is for end-oflife ve­hi­cles, where we process, shred, and

seg­re­gate the met­als, and re­use. In ad­di­tion to that, we’re build­ing sev­eral new fa­cil­i­ties, for PET plas­tic and wood re­cy­cling.”

VEN­TURES OF THE FU­TURE

The Abu Dhabi Sus­tain­abil­ity Week (ADSW) 2017 saw Bee’ah and Mas­dar, the Abu Dhabi Fu­ture En­ergy Com­pany, come to­gether to es­tab­lish re­new­able en­ergy projects, launch­ing the Emi­rates Waste to En­ergy com­pany (EWTE). The com­pany is the first of its kind in the re­gion, and its first project is the Shar­jah Multi-fuel Waste to En­ergy Fa­cil­ity, ca­pa­ble of di­vert­ing over 300,000 tonnes of un­re­cy­clable waste away from land­fill every year. The fa­cil­ity will in­cin­er­ate over 37.5 tonnes of waste per hour to de­liver 30MW of clean en­ergy to the Shar­jah power grid, thus meet­ing the needs of thou­sands of house­holds.

Apart from waste man­age­ment, the or­gan­i­sa­tion is also push­ing into the sec­tors of air and wa­ter man­age­ment; seven air qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems have been in­stalled at sites across Shar­jah, and wa­ter stud­ies are be­ing con­ducted for lo­cal bod­ies Al Khan and Al Khalid to iden­tify con­tam­i­nants.

“Bee’ah was cre­ated to tackle all en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges,” re­marks Huraimel. “We are more con­cerned with the qual­ity of life, which comes from a clean en­vi­ron­ment, clean wa­ter, clean air, and tech­nol­ogy. As a first step, we want to un­der­stand the level and state of qual­ity of air, and then put plans with the au­thor­i­ties to im­prove that qual­ity and re­duce emis­sions. Just like we have a tar­get for zero waste, we also have a tar­get for qual­ity of air in the city and the emi­rate. We’ll do the same thing with wa­ter.”

More re­cently, and achiev­ing an­other first in the re­gion, Bee’ah signed a deal with Tesla at the World Fu­ture En­ergy Sum­mit in Abu Dhabi, an­nounc­ing an or­der to pur­chase 50 Tesla Semi heavy duty elec­tric trucks. The trucks en­ter pro­duc­tion in 2019, and will pri­mar­ily be used for waste col­lec­tion and trans­porta­tion, in­clud­ing trans­port of ma­te­ri­als for re­cy­cling.

“Tan­deef has over 1,000 ve­hi­cles, which we are aim­ing to slowly con­vert to a green fleet,” com­ments Huraimel. “We’re the first com­pany in the re­gion to or­der the Tesla trucks, which just shows the drive we have for cre­at­ing a sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­ment and a cir­cu­lar econ­omy, and it’s not just about col­lect­ing waste; we’re look­ing at it as a com­plete cy­cle.”

Au­tonomous tech­nol­ogy will en­able mul­ti­ple Tesla Semis to “pla­toon” – that is to travel in con­voy with just the lead truck dig­i­tally con­trol­ling the oth­ers. In ad­di­tion, on-board sen­sors will de­tect in­sta­bil­ity dur­ing travel, and au­to­mat­i­cally make ad­just­ments to ve­hi­cle torque and brak­ing to pre­vent dan­ger­ous “jack­knif­ing”. The trucks will be used by Bee’ah along­side ex­ist­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles, as well as those that cur­rently run on CNG and bio diesel, in ad­di­tion to the boats that use so­lar en­ergy while clean­ing wa­ter bod­ies. Bee’ah has also part­nered with a num­ber of Us-based com­pa­nies spe­cialised in trans­form­ing dieselpow­ered ve­hi­cles into elec­tric ones, to help con­tribute to bet­ter air qual­ity.

Tesla has also been com­mis­sioned to pro­vide their ad­vanced power-pack bat­tery tech­nol­ogy, with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 1,890 kwh, for the new Bee’ah head­quar­ters.

The new head­quar­ters firmly flaunt Bee’ah’s core prin­ci­ples to op­er­ate en­tirely from re­new­able en­ergy sources and move to­wards zero waste, as well as in­crease their ed­u­ca­tional out­reach. The in­te­ri­ors have been de­signed to al­low nat­u­ral sun­light to stream in, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously min­imis­ing the amount of harsh light af­fect­ing vis­i­tors and ad­min­is­tra­tive spa­ces. All power re­quired for the build­ing will be gen­er­ated via low and zero car­bon sources, prin­ci­pally from the ad­ja­cent Bee’ah Waste Man­age­ment Cen­tre’s con­ver­sion of mu­nic­i­pal waste (that would oth­er­wise de­cay in land­fill) into en­ergy, to­gether with large ar­rays of pho­to­voltaic cells in­cor­po­rated within the site’s land­scap­ing. More so, Bee’ah’s ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence of re­cov­ered wa­ter re­cy­cling for non-potable use has en­abled the de­sign to be de­vel­oped for ex­cep­tion­ally low potable wa­ter con­sump­tion.

COM­MU­NITY IN­VOLVE­MENT

Bee’ah has con­stantly strived to reach out to the gen­eral com­mu­nity and to ed­u­cate them on the ben­e­fits of re­cy­cling, with pro­grams such as Bee’ah Re­wards, util­is­ing the Re­verse Vend­ing Ma­chines (RVMS). Com­mu­nity mem­bers are en­cour­aged to de­posit their alu­minium cans and plas­tic bot­tles in the RVMS. Each time a re­cy­clable is de­posited, the RVM is­sues a re­ceipt with a unique bar­code, which the user scans through the Bee’ah mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion, qual­i­fy­ing them to en­ter the Bee’ah Re­wards monthly draw. Bee’ah’s mo­bile app also en­cour­ages re­cy­cling in the com­mu­nity by iden­ti­fy­ing the near­est re­cy­cling point, in ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing easy ac­cess to ser­vices like ‘You Call, We Haul’, where peo­ple can con­tact Bee’ah to col­lect and re­cy­cle their bulky waste.

Huraimel says: “Every year, we do a lot with the pub­lic, from aware­ness pro­grams, to man­ag­ing events to spon­sor­ing them, to work­ing with schools and uni­ver­si­ties; we’re ex­tremely ac­tive on this front. We have the Bee’ah School of En­vi­ron­ment, de­signed to help school teach­ers and in­struct stu­dents on en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity. We also have the Shar­jah Lead­er­ship Pro­gramme, which is a Shar­jah­wide pro­gramme, for which we are the main spon­sor and we work very closely with the Shar­jah Tatweer Fo­rum on that project.

“To also help be­fore the waste reaches our site, we do a lot of seg­re­ga­tion at the source. Shar­jah was the first city to do res­i­den­tial re­cy­cling pro­grams. All the res­i­den­tial ar­eas in Shar­jah now have the blue and green bins, and you can see the three-stream bins in all pub­lic places.”

The unique­ness of Bee’ah’s ap­proach and con­sis­tent drive to­wards ex­cel­lence has helped the com­pany to make rapid progress to­wards its goal of el­e­vat­ing Shar­jah, to the po­si­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal cap­i­tal of the Mid­dle East. Bee’ah’s suc­cess lies in the guid­ance of its vi­sion­ary lead­ers and in the tire­less ef­forts of its work­force.

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