RECAPP, was launched by Veolia Near & Middle East, the benchmark company for ecological transformation, in November 2020 as the first recycling app in the UAE. Over the years, it has grown into a community of 52000 users, collecting more than 813 tons of recyclables, including 1,2 million tins, 1,4 million cans, 1 million plastic trays, and 29 million plastic bottles. It also has rewarded users with 35,200 vouchers, added 18 reward partners, and helped reduce 1713 tons of C02.
Moreover, GoRECAPP.com, a dedicated B2B platform launched in November 2022, is also making significant progress. In a short span of about three months period, it has already registered 56 schools and 50 offices, thereby helping raise awareness among the younger generation and bringing recycling solutions to brands and companies in the UAE. The B2B platform now offers all types of companies to order the recycling solution online through an easy deliver-collect-recycle feature.
Jérôme Viricel, General Manager of RECAPP at Veolia Near & Middle East, believes recycling and waste reduction are essential for a sustainable future.
Jerome Viricel (Left), the General Manager of RECAPP, at the @agthiagroup HQ
In a recent interview, he shared how RECAPP is using innovative digital solutions to divert waste from landfills and increase recycling rates in the UAE.
Educating the Public with Gamification and Reward Systems
Viricel believes that educating the public about recycling and waste reduction is crucial, and RECAPP's mobile app, which is available on iOS and Google Play as Go RECAPP, and the B2B recycling service available at www.gorecapp.com, offers a unique advantage in this regard. "We provide a lot of awareness and education, and our digital solution allows us to discuss with the end user and see what the material is. This way, we can educate the users about recycling," he said.
Jerome continued, "When we come with our digital solution, we discuss with the end user, we see immediately what the material is, and we can educate, so it's a lot of awareness and education that we provide".
He noted that, at the start of their operations, they faced some issues with compliance and contamination, but by engaging with the community and explaining the importance of recycling, they were able to reduce their rejection rate from 17% to less than 3%.
RECAPP uses gamification and reward systems to encourage people to recycle. They have organized contests, such as during Ramadan, where users were rewarded for collecting the maximum amount of plastic from their homes and neighborhoods. Viricel believes that by making recycling fun and rewarding, they can encourage more people to participate in the mission of reducing waste.
Working with Schools and Businesses
In addition to targeting individuals, RECAPP also works with schools and businesses. They started with schools to raise awareness and educate younger generations on the importance of recycling. They now have over 50 schools using their platform. By providing a service to one individual, they hope to encourage others in their community, such as their office or workplace, to adopt sustainable practices.
"We decided to target the businesses. And by doing this, we start first with the schools because, again, awareness education. So we said, okay, let's talk to the schools. Now we have more than 50 schools using our services," says Viricel.
Through their efforts, RECAPP hopes to contribute to the UAE's goal of diverting 75% of waste from landfills. They believe that community engagement and education are key to achieving this goal. As Viricel states, "it's important to recycle, you need to make people aware, educate them, and provide a service that is easy. If it's not easy, nobody will participate in this mission."
Reducing the Burden on Municipal Solid Waste in the UAE and Harnessing the Power of the Community
The use of plastic has increased the burden on Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the UAE, with waste being produced at a rate of 1.76 to 2.3 kg/day per person. The increase in waste generation is expected to grow to a level of 5622 tonnes/day in 2030. Viricel believes that RECAPP can play a significant role in reducing this burden by diverting waste from landfills and promoting recycling.
He noted that, while the UAE has made significant progress in reducing waste, there is still a long way to go. "There's a lot of work to do because there's a lot of waste produced every day, and it's very important to divert it from the landfill," he said.
He emphasized the need for continued education and awareness campaigns, as well as the importance of making recycling easy and accessible for everyone.
Viricel believes that the key to RECAPP's success has been its ability to harness the power of the community. "We believe that the community is the key, and we need to work with them to make this change happen," he said. By engaging with the community and making recycling a fun and rewarding activity, Viricel believes that it can have a significant impact on reducing waste and increasing recycling rates in the UAE.
Where There Is Waste, There Will Be RECAPP
RECAPP's objective is to continue to expand its services and reach out to a maximum of the population. "Our objective is to become a big player in the field of waste management in the UAE," Viricel said. The company wants to expand its services to different emirates and provide the service to different cities in the UAE.
Viricel believes that RECAPP's platform can play a significant role in reducing waste and increasing recycling rates in the UAE. By educating the public, working with schools and businesses, and harnessing the power of the community, RECAPP mobile app and gorecapp.com are on their way to becoming big players in the field of waste management in the UAE.