Meet Dubai’s recycling heroes

Express Gulf News, 31 May 2017.

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Meet Dubai’s Recycling Heroes

Meet Dubai’s recycling heroes

Ahead of World Environment Day, Anjana Kumar catches up with eco warriors who have turned discarded material into works of art.

“We often tend to throw away things we don’t need and invariably most of them end up in landfills.

However, some environmentally-conscious people have found ingenious ways to put discarded items to good use. From glass, wood and plastic, to paint, old clothes and hundreds of other everyday items, these people have found a way to turn waste into works of art. Here is a lowdown on five such eco warriors in the UAE.

Mariska Nell

A lot of us are coffee addicts, but has anyone given a thought about what to do with a used coffee pod? Take a cue from Mariska Nell.

The 30-year-old South African expat uses discarded coffee pods to make lampshades. “We routinely buy Nespresso coffee which comes in colourful, little aluminium capsules. I found them so attractive I could never bring myself to throw them. Before long I had collected hundreds of pods. As I looked at them one day, I thought why not utilise them to make a lampshade. I used over 900 pods to make my first lampshade. It took me a month but the effort was worthwhile.”

The lamp is designed with four-petal flowers made from Nespresso capsules and stuck together with a special glue.

Nell also makes keyrings, bowls, trays, vases, chairs, chalk-boards and show-pieces from the pods. “At any given time I have 3,000 empty capsules lying in my house. It takes me three hours to clean 50 pods. My friends and family know I am a coffee addict for more reasons than one and so they also bring me used coffee pods. I am happy that in my little way I am encouraging them to recycle too.” The prices of her products start from Dh40 going all the way to Dh6,000 for the lampshade.”

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