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It isn’t easy being green. Or is it?

It isn’t easy being green. Or is it?

Developing a culture of recycling in the UAE is no easy feat. But with a loyalty program and a Reverse Vending Machine, Kipp thinks Bee'ah is on to something.

April 22, 2012 4:03 by

Kipp once compared the UAE’s desire to ‘go green’ to the relentless resolutions of a morbidly obese person to go on a diet. If you have lived here for as long as we have, then you will remember the multiple campaigns for ‘green living’ launched since the mid-nineties. From the ever annoying jingle ‘Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’ to the ‘Zero Plastic Bags by 2013’—Kipp has, with much disappointment, seen these initiatives fizzle out post-launch date. It is hard to pinpoint why these well-intentioned campaigns aren’t successful. For a long time, there was the argument that the UAE lacked recycling bins – yet, the introduction of three-stem recycling bins around Dubai has done little to encourage a culture of recycling. In fact, it isn’t rare to find all kinds of trash placed in the ‘paper only’ or the ‘plastics only’ bins.

Which is why Kipp is rather impressed by the Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) initiative launched by Bee’ah in conjunction with Earth Day, which was celebrated yesterday. The 10 RVMs accept aluminum cans and plastic bottles in exchange for loyalty points, which can be redeemed at participating venues. The machine requires one to deposit an item, and once the system validates the item, the user will be required to scan their myBee’ah card–points will be awarded according to the submission, along with a receipt. After accumulating enough points, the user will be able to redeem discounts at participating stores. There has been no mention of which stores are participating in the scheme as of yet, although Mega Mall is one of Bee’ah’s partners for the RVMs.

CEO of Bee’ah Khalid Al Huraime said: “People are encouraged and rewarded for their good actions which benefit both their environment and their city. The objective of this loyalty programme is to reward loyal environmentalists for their individual recycling efforts by earning points based on the number of plastic bottles and aluminium cans deposited in Bee’ah’s recyclables reverse vending machines as well as participating in environmental competitions and events through the online social community,”

Despite the UAE’s less than stellar track record, we can’t help but feel optimistic about the RVMs. The country has an undying love for shopping, loyalty programs and discounts—so maybe there is hope after all. Don’t you know, just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

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