Have you ever wondered what happens to the trash you “throw away” in Dahab?
Have you ever wondered about the people who collect all our trash?
Meet Hemaya Association.
Hemaya, meaning “protection” in Arabic”, is an NGO, founded in Nuweiba in1997 by Sherif el Ghamrawy (of Basata Ecolodge). One of Hemaya’s many projects is the solid waste management here in Dahab. They are in charge of collecting, sorting, and transporting our trash. The waste is sorted – glass, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard – and compacted in the Industrial Zone in the city. These compacted bundles are then transported to 10th of Ramadan City (outside of Cairo) where they are sold to traders who RECYCLE the material.
We visited the center in the Industrial Zone today and asked them what we could do to make their job easier. The answer: Sort your trash. Then call Shargawy at +0122 60 89 204 to arrange free pick-up.
That’s right. If we sort our recyclable trash at home, Hemaya will collect it for free and it will be RECYCLED!
I have been sorting the glass and cardboard at our house and it’s taken a few months for the boxes to be full, but now that they are I will call Hemaya and request a pick-up. I will also start to sort the trash I collect from the street in front of my house.
TIP: REUSE the large flour sacks from the bakery or ask a shop for a cardboard box to use to sort your trash.
TIP: If you don’t want to wait as long for a pick-up, organize with your neighbors and together you’ll probably collect enough for more frequent pick-ups.
It was mentioned today that the local hotels could be doing a better job at sorting their trash, which they have all been asked to do. So if you are a hotel or business owner, please encourage (or better yet, require) your staff to sort the recyclable items in your trash. Provide separate bins for your guests. Then educate the staff and your guests about these bins. Some simple signs would help the guests. For example, it would be best if bottles were empty before being put in the bin. Having water left in the bottles slows the compacting process down as the bottles have to be emptied first.
If you are organizing a clean-up event, you can also call Hemaya and arrange for them to pick-up the bags from you. You don’t have to worry about sorting this trash. They will take care of that part for you. (Probably because it will be pretty easy as most of it will be plastic!)
For our clean-up event a few weeks ago, a Bedouin man drove the 40+ bags of trash we had collected to a center in Sharm el Sheikh where he was able to sell the trash to traders. He would probably have earned between LE 150 – 200 for the whole load (which is why he did not charge us anything).
Do you already sort the trash at your home? If not, are you willing to do so? Why or why not? Does your hotel/restaurant/business sort their trash? Do you provide bins for your guests? What tips do you have for other establishments wanting to sort their trash?
Read more about how Sherif started the organization here.
Read more about Hemaya here.
Refuse ~ Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle