Elite Paper Recycling (EPR) is a Qatari private paper manufacturing company, which strives to raise awareness in Qatar on the importance of recycling. Located in the New Industrial Area, EPR is the largest paper factory in Qatar.
Using 70% of the 4,000 tons of the thrown away paper and cardboard in Qatar, EPR produces more than 3,000 tons of recycled paper, cardboard sheets and more from the country’s waste. The company produces fluting and testliners, which are essential components of corrugated cartons. EPR collects from various supermarkets, hypermarkets and schools in Qatar everyday. The company currently has 1,000 recycling cages across Qatar to collect paper and cardboard. From its recycled production, EPR sells 20% locally and exports 80% internationally to countries such as Oman, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa andChina. Prior to the blockade, EPR mainly sold its production to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.
Marhaba visited EPR last week and had an exclusive preview of recycling in Qatar at EPR, and interviewed EPR’s Chairman Abdulla Ibrahim Al Suwaidi about EPR’s contribution to environmental sustainability and awareness in Qatar.
- What inspired the establishment of Elite Paper Recycling (EPR)?
We established the Elite Paper Recycling factory in 2009. We finished construction in 2014, and by the beginning of 2015, we started trial production. So the beginning was in 2015. We had explored the markets, checking which countries to sell in and of course, cover the full market in Qatar. The remaining was export to other countries. We used to export to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE. Our production is 3,000 tons per month. We cover almost 20% locally and 80% internationally. So why did we start Elite Paper Recycling? Because we care about the environment. We saw there was a lot of waste thrown in the streets and garbage, so we said that’s a huge volume of waste paper so instead of throwing it where it will go to the dump areas and underground, instead we thought, ‘why don’t we recycle it and make it a new product?’ So that’s why we started Elite Paper Recycling – to recycle waste.
- How is EPR playing a role in environmental awareness and sustainability? What is the development in Qatar?
In EPR, we care about the future, not just today. The future means the children. Today’s children are the future. If we make them aware now, they will care more about the future. They will care about the environment. Now, nobody cares about the environment. No one knows how paper is getting recycled. No one knows where the paper is getting thrown away. They think it’s just waste and they will dispose of it and that’s it. But in other countries, they had awareness from before. They taught their children from the initial stage so in the next decade, the children will grow up and care for the environment. So that’s why if we did this here in EPR so in the next 10 years, today’s generation will be the future and care about the environment. So when we teach in EPR how paper is getting recycled, they will have this ambition that they like the idea and how they saw the paper getting recycled. So instead, when they go home, they will not throw the waste in the garbage. They will care and segregate it and take it to be recycled.
We have lots of ways to spread awareness. We go to schools, we give presentations there, we have schools coming to visit us to see how paper is getting recycled. Not just that: We show the video how the paper is getting collected from their houses and brought to the factory so they know the full cycle. So when they come here to the factory and see how the paper is getting recycled, they will be amazed. Then we’re going to give them a better thing to do. We need to have them active with us so we have a small presentation room where we have the smallest paper factory in the world. There the children themselves will go and recycle the paper, which they have collected or brought with them. So instead, the end-up product, which they had in their waste, they will say ‘I have recycled this paper’, so they will grow up with that.
- What are the biggest achievements of EPR in recycling so far?
We are not only recycling 3,000 tons of paper, we are also collecting more than 3,000 tons of waste paper a month. We’re collecting more than 100 tons per day of waste paper from all over Qatar. And we have more than 1,300 cages spread across Qatar. We collect from hotels, ministries and neighbourhoods, as well as where places are more crowded and with shops.
- What are some of the challenges you face as a recycling company? And has the blockade had an impact on EPR’s production or sales?
Actually, the blockade gave us a boost. In the beginning, we were selling to Saudi Arabia and the blockading countries. The terms are different there now. So when we explored new markets, the prices are better, the payment terms are better and because we went to bigger customers than the UAE, so we didn’t have any financial issues like with the small companies we used to deal with in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
We are doing our best to give more awareness and we have new ways coming up in the next semester for children. We’ll have another vision for them to explore – what happens if they recycle or if they don’t – and how that affects the forest and is destroying Mother Nature. So we’ll give them that experience as well – what happens if you don’t recycle and if you want to use paper and how paper is getting made if you didn’t recycle it. Then they will care more how we, EPR, collect from houses and streets and cleaning and caring about the environment; and if not, it will affect Mother Nature by destroying the forests.
- EPR is launching a campaign soon. What’s behind the campaign?
For the first time in Qatar, EPR will be introducing the 360 Degree Virtual Realty Dome. A powerful mass communication and message out saving the environment and stop deforestation and contribute to climate changes efforts. This unique virtual reality experience will help the community to experience live the difference if you recycle and if you don’t recycle what will happen to Mother Nature. It’s a one of a kind state-of-the-art story that introduces a massive public awareness for children and adults experiencing, in virtual reality, the causes and impact of non re-cycling and deforestation on all of us — real Feel of people destroying forests and killing nature.
We are already having more campaigns as well. EPR has strategic partners in many industries including oil and gas, finance, and many others to join efforts for “ Call for nature”. We are proud that on the “World Environment Day(WED)” which is celebrated on the 5th of June every year and is the United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. EPR to manage the waste confidential paper waste and recycle all QNBs branches.
- What different recycling methods do you have for different types of paper products?
Actually, recycling is an old technology. It’s just been upgraded with new technology. It’s just a small simple idea that you also can do at home. We used to do these activities also in schools by using a hairdryer and shredding the paper to make a new paper as well.
Whatever waste we collect, we take it to the pulping systems, which shred the paper and mix it with water, and then it ends up as a pulp. We segregate or remove the waste particles, which are foam, plastics, some stones and sand. Then we take it to the paper making section so then we make paper with it.
- What are the company’s future plans?
We are not just thinking we want to recycle. We’re going to expand within the industry of recycling as well, and because, as you know, the population is increasing every year. And as you know, 2022 is coming up soon so the waste is going to increase and the paper demand will increase as well. We’re not just thinking to make paper, we’re going to make all types of paper products as well like carton boxes and paper bags. We’re already doing egg pallets. All from the various kinds of waste paper we are collecting now. EPR has introduced the new local egg pallet for the 1sttime in Qatar and 2019 EPR will be introducing the “Recycled Carton factory”.
By Ola Diab
Video and photography by Andrea Buenafe
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