Adjusting to Life in Kuwait: Recycling

When you decide to move to a new country, you know there is going to be a few things that you will have to get used to.  Moving to Kuwait, we have had to adjust to things like the extreme heat, crazy traffic, no pork/booze, etc. Perhaps one of the hardest things we have had to get used to, is that recycling is virtually non-existent here!

Back home, it was rare if we ever had more than one bag of garbage a week. On the flip side, our recycling dumpster was always completely packed! We were super good about organizing our recyclable materials and took pride that on a weekly basis we were always recycling about twice as much rubbish vs. garbage.

When we arrived in Kuwait, and were dropped into temperatures around 115 degrees, it was a necessity to drink lots of water! Our colleagues advised us not to drink the tap water in our apartment, so we decided to just stick with bottled water.  Everywhere we would go, we would grab a bottle out of the fridge to stay cool and hydrated.  We could never find recycle containers in public, so we would always just bring the bottles back home with us so we could recycle them at our apartment complex. After a few days in Kuwait, and as our collection of empty water bottles was increasing on our countertop, is when we found out that recycling in Kuwait didn’t exist! It is hard to believe that it’s non-existent in a country where people are forced to drink so much bottled water.

photo 1-2

Our collection of empty water bottles, waiting for a recycling container.

Our collection of empty water bottles continued to grow, as neither of us had the courage to throw plastic bottles into the garbage. We were losing precious countertop space, and I knew recycling wasn’t going to magically appear overnight, so I took it upon myself to discard the bottles. However before I did, I used my superhuman strength to crush the bottles as small as I could, in effort to take up as little space as possible in the landfill.

photo 2-2

Before throwing the water bottles in the garbage, I crushed them as small as possible, so they would take up as little space as possible in the landfill.

We knew we emotionally couldn’t handle throwing plastic water bottles away during our time in Kuwait, so we did some thinking of what we could do to save waste. After a bit of research, we found a company in Kuwait called Abraaj Water, where we could order 5 gallon jugs of drinking water, then have them refilled as needed.

photo 3

Our new water cooler system from Abraaj Water.

We feel like there are multiple benefits of getting our drinking water this way:

  1. We are doing our part to save on waste and keeping recyclable bottles out of landfills.
  2. We are saving a lot more money purchasing drinking water by the 5 gallon jug vs. a case of 20 oz. bottles. It is just under $2.00 USD per 5 gallon jug.
  3. We are reaping the health benefits of drinking A LOT more water!  Since it is so convenient having a water cooler in our kitchen with ice cold water, we drink it all the time!


    1. Hi Engineerasmaa!

      Glad you found our blog. Thanks for the link to 248am. We really enjoy that blog and have read quite a bit of it. Unfortunately that blog post was from 2011 and the only known recycling company in Kuwait has gone out of business. We are keeping our fingers crossed that changes in the future. Keep us up to date if you hear anything else about this issue.

  1. When we were in Riggae, MRC – Metal & Recycling Company used to send collection van once every week. They had provided cartons where we can put paper, metal & glass separately. It was really helpful.

    However as you have noted they are no more in business or at least as we know it.

    As for the kitchen waste we have been composting them for 7 years now.

    If you need any guidance let me know. You are more than welcome to have a look at my balcony garden.

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