Things are looking greener for Jeddah as an increasing number of green enthusiasts and environmental initiatives have sprung up in the city, and it has become much easier to Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. Anousha Vakani speaks to a couple of such enthusiasts who agree that while the environmental situation in Jeddah leaves much to be desired, we have come a very long way in the last decade.
Sahar Radwan, a volunteer at Mawakeb Al-Ajr and a member of the Taif Orphans Association, explains that the pick-up truck from Trewind for the recyclables collected on their venue is now needed everyday as opposed to just once a month when they began six years ago. She talks about the increasing awareness among the people of Jeddah, and says, “people are very interested in the idea of recycling and reusing things. It’s a new culture for them but they are very enthusiastic about the fact that there is a place where they can send recyclable or reusable items.” However, Sahar admits that there is a transportation issue as the recycling situation in Jeddah is not yet big enough for recyclables to be picked up from individual areas. Instead, households must drop off their recyclables to Mawakeb Al-Ajr’s venue in Khalidiyah. Due to this, Sahar admits that other than many schools and companies, most families that drop off recyclables live close by in the Khalidiyah or Rawdah Districts.
Jeddah has seen the appearance of public recycling bins which can be found in many schools, colleges, hospitals and even supermarkets such as Hyperpanda, Wall Street Institute and United Doctors Hospital. Recycling bins have also been seen lined on a couple of streets.
Mona Othman co-founder of Naqa’a Enterprise, which provides sustainability solutions to companies, has also noticed a significant improvement in the environmental awareness levels between today and five years ago. Naqa’a Enterprise has worked with companies such as Nestlé and Abdul Lateef Jameel Co. Ltd. as well as Dar El Hekma College and Friends of Jeddah Parks.
Mona believes that the awareness of proper waste disposal will lead to a much better future for the environment. She goes on to add that currently they are contacted “mostly by international companies with young people who have either studied abroad or grown up there with environmental awareness, or due to pressure from international branches.”
Local companies are, however, slowly entering the green scene. One such company is The Loft, a creative hub based in Jeddah. Co-founder Ruba Sidani mentions that The Loft uses a very minimum amount of paper in the office but does end up with a good amount of plastic water bottles. After a little research they came across Mawakeb Al-Ajr and now send recyclable items to their venue in the Khalidiyah District.
Ruba explains that The Loft team is very enthusiastic about water and energy saving and the reuse of resources. She asserts, “We felt that especially in Saudi the topic of recycling is not of any significance, so we thought we would start in the office and once it kicks off we would move on to a campaign to try to spread awareness and to encourage people to separate their waste and recycle. We hope this catches on because it is for a much greater good, better for Saudi and better for the world.” The Loft has recently collaborated with Ateeq on a promo video of the Trochet project.
The Trochet project is the brainchild of Diana Rayyan, and another green campaign that Jeddah can be proud of. Trochet (trash + crochet) aims to reuse, through crochet, plastic and other recyclable items in the creation of hand-made products. They have even managed to design and create a bean bag made of crocheted strips of plastic. Recycling bins will soon be placed for the collection of plastic bags for Trochet.
The people of Jeddah are strongly urged to do their bit to help paint Jeddah in the vibrant green that it deserves. Jeddah Blog has compiled twenty tips for a greener Jeddah to help you start off:
Twenty Tips For a Green Jeddah !
- Aim for shorter showers, reduce the flow of your shower head and don’t keep the water running while brushing your teeth.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room, especially if you’ll be gone for more than a minute.
- Recycle technology; old laptops and cellphones can be sold to local shops who will usually offer a good deal as most parts are reusable.
- Participate in Earth Day 2013, follow green blogs and local environmentalists to stay up to date and participate in events taking place in Jeddah on Earth Day. Take a look at activities from Earth Day 2011.
- Raise awareness by inviting environmentalists to give talks at your school, college, workplace orevent. Companies and groups such as Naqa’a Enterprise, Al-Nabta and Faseelah hold environmental awareness lectures.
- Educate children at home by encouraging them to reuse and recycle wherever possible. Start them off at a young age by looking for green activities to do with your toddlers, such as recycled material in an arts and crafts project.
- Make an effort to improve air quality and reduce traffic by carpooling whenever you can.
- Reduce the amount of plastic bags you bring home from the grocery store. Ask the bagger to place as many items as possible into a single bag. Better yet, take your own reusable bags to bring home your groceries in.
- Switch off the hot water boiler in summers. Tap water in the summertime is usually hot enough for showers and household chores.
- Buy your groceries in bulk and reduce the amount of containers that have to be recycled.
- The greener the product, the better. Look for environmental friendly products the next time you go shopping. Take a look at Destination Jeddah’s Green Living section for updates on green products.
- Unplug cellphone and laptop chargers when not in use
- Separate your trash immediately into paper, plastic, metal and glass. Consider colour coding your waste baskets to make it easier and more fun for the family. Take a look at Trewind’s How You Can Help section for details on this.
- Bring the separated recyclable items to your nearest collection point such as Hyper Panda, Mawakeb Alajer, Wall Street Institute and United Doctors Hospital. Contact Trewind for more information on collection points.
- Volunteer at local green activities, such as the Trochet project by Ateeq and several projects by YIG Jeddah, Mawakeb Alajer and Friends of Jeddah Parks.
- Khayra Bundakji, an environmental enthusiast and student at Effat University tweeted a useful and simple green tip; invest in reusable cups and take them to cafes instead of using their disposable ones. If you have your coffee (or tea) on the go, invest in a thermal coffee cup and have your daily drink in your own reusable cup, saving hundreds of paper and plastic cups per month. These reusable cups can be found in places such as Lifestyle, Home Centre, Ikea and most grocery stores.
- Instead of giving kids money to buy bottled water from school, invest in a reusable water thermos for them to take to school.
- If you have large windows at home, open the curtains and let in the natural light for as long as possible before switching the lights on.
- Set your air conditioner on a timer instead of keeping it on all night.
- Donate old clothes, toys, books and furniture to local charity groups such as YIG Jeddah or second-hand shops such as Mawakeb Alajer. Organizing a yard sale in your compound or neighbourhood can help you to get rid of items no longer needed as well as make you a little extra cash. Items can also be sold online at Expatriates.com or Jeddah Yard Sale on Facebook.