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Canadian recycling companies making inroads into Middle East

Samer Kamal is chairman of the Toronto consulting firm Tactical Connections, which helps Canadian companies get a toehold in the Middle East. Mr. Kamal was appalled on a recent visit to the Sharjah, an emirate of about one million people in the UAE, by the amount of recy-clables thrown in the garbage. Virtually all solid waste there, he says, goes to landfill. Kamal’s family is close to the ruling family, and he persuaded them to set up a government-backed organization, called Bee’ah, to move the emirate into the 21st century on environmental issues. Then Kamal and his partner began approaching Canadian firms who had the expertise to build infrastructure to recycle household and industrial solid waste.

Salim Bin Mohammed Al Owais, the chairman of Bee’ah who came to Canada recently to sign several contracts said: “Residents of Sharjah are increasingly becoming aware of strides made in other countries, and the ruling family very much wants to be seen as leader in the region.” Brad Kerr, Kamal’s business partner, said the recycling project in Sharjah could become a model for the area. “It’s unique right across the Gulf, so we’ve got a lot of eyes watching us.” Among the Canadian firms that signed contracts with Bee’ah is Envyrozone Inc., a Toronto company that makes three-bin-on-street recycling containers. It is selling about 5,000 containers to Bee’ah in a contract worth almost $10 million. Envyrozone president Robert Watson said his firm has sold its products in Europe and Africa, but this is its first venture into the Middle East. The company’s basic bins are slightly modified for the region, including the elimination of any paint or finish that would melt in the heat. Another contract, worth $12 million, is going to Shred-Tech Corp. and Recycling Technologies Corp., both out of Cambridge, Ontario. They will provide tire shredders and technology to process rubber and reform it into bricks. Allianz Mad-vac of Boucherville, Quebec, will deliver 60 street sweepers to Bee’ah, and Titan Trailers Inc. of Delhi, Ontario, is selling waste-hauling equipment for the project.