Agricultural Recycling: How Is It Done?
Introduction – Agriculture Waste in the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates may be situated in a desert with unfavorable conditions for growing crops and raising livestock. Yet, agriculture is among the most important sectors in the country as it contributes nearly $3.5 billion to its GDP, according to the World Bank.
Although industries, such as retail, manufacturing, and petroleum, contribute more to the economy, the UAE’s agricultural sector is the country’s largest consumer of water. In recent years, the government has introduced several initiatives to increase local food production, including proper agricultural recycling and waste minimization programs.
However, agricultural waste management is a relatively new topic in the region, especially among consumers. As one of the leading recycling solutions in the UAE, Recapp aims to help educate its users about agricultural recycling.
So, keep reading to learn what it is and how it’s done.
What is Agricultural Recycling?
To understand agricultural waste recycling, we need to understand what agricultural waste is. By definition, agricultural waste refers to any unwanted, unsalable, or unsalvageable product or material generated through agricultural activities, such as:
- Soil preparation
- Livestock raising, etc.
In that context, agricultural recycling is the process of properly disposing of organic waste from farmlands and agribusiness properties. It is also an environmentally and financially attractive way to give a new purpose to used waters, such as energy production, food, etc.
The Most Common Types of Agricultural Waste in the UAE
The following are the most common types of agricultural waste generated by farms and agribusinesses in the UAE :
- Fertilizer and fertilizer bags
- Waste oil
- Transportation waste (brake fluid, engine oil, etc.)
- Manure and other excrements
- Rotten crops or vegetable culls
- Cracked eggs and other inedible food products
- Dead livestock
- Medical supplies (medicine, syringes, etc.)
Importance of Agricultural Waste Recycling
Inadequate organic waste management is one of the leading causes of environmental issues, such as:
- Land, water, and air pollution
- Pest infestation
- Aesthetic landscape damage
- Global warming through greenhouse gases emission etc.
Since most organic waste can be repurposed as nutrients and other byproducts, agricultural recycling has become a popular practice to reduce the aesthetic, health, and environmental damages caused by organic waste.
Proper agricultural waste management also helps farmers and agribusinesses in the UAE offset some of the costs of landfilling, waste transportation, and traditional fertilizers. In 2021, the government also unveiled a methane reduction plan to turn agricultural waste, such as dead crops and manure, into a source of biogas to generate electricity.
The Agricultural Recycling Process Explained
Agricultural recycling is a complex process that varies from farm to farm. However, the general process remains more or less the same. For example, solid materials, such as plastic containers, damaged equipment, and bags, are typically sent to landfills or incinerators.
Similarly, organic waste, such as rotten veggies, eggshells, hay, grains, meats, etc., is added to compost boxes to produce a nutrient-rich probiotic that reduces the need for fertilizers. As for disposal, there are several ways farmers in the UAE get rid of different agricultural waste from their properties.
Moreover, liquid waste is generally sent to water treatment plants for recycling plants to be repurposed for domestic or agricultural use. Companies like Beeahtandeef specialize in municipal solid and liquid waste collection.
Many farmers also take the DIY route to waste management to save costs and repurpose different materials. For instance, some invest in incinerators designed specifically for farms to dispose of toxic solid and liquid waste in controlled fires. Meanwhile, others opt for more creative solutions, such as using urine and manure as fertilizer for crops, or crop waste as food for livestock.
Agricultural recycling is one of the fastest-growing waste management initiatives in the UAE to reduce the country’s dependence on food imports. It can also reduce the strain on the environment by enabling farmers to minimize their carbon footprint while recovering valuable resources.