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Series: The growth of UAE green tech – Part 1: The reused goods market

UAE green tech

It’s become increasingly apparent that the disposable culture we have witnessed in developed economies in recent decades is no longer sustainable. Reuse is very much on the up as consumers – and therefore the businesses that serve them – become more conscious of their environmental footprints and more savvy about money-saving. 

The UAE is at the forefront of this movement. With a fairly transient expat population, residents are always looking for more affordable ways to buy their cars, clothes and more. And through the government strategy, ‘A Green Economy for Sustainable Development’, the region is set to become a global hub for green technology development.

So what does reuse mean in today’s world? Firstly, forget about flea-markets; nowadays, the reused goods market is as high-tech as any other burgeoning sector of the economy.

Here are just three of the many exciting areas of opportunity for startups in the UAE green tech industry:

  • Internet of Things: The IoT has a key role to play in the green economy. For example, appliance brands could place smart sensor technology on their goods to monitor equipment, expand its lifetime – and potentially enable its reuse. All of this, of course, requires sophisticated tech and more and more companies are entering the field to provide such solutions. The UAE is an encouraging environment in this context. For example, the Smart Dubai Internet of Things Strategy was established to leverage a city-wide partner network to reap the rewards of IoT tech.
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI is having a massive impact on the online reused goods market, as in all sectors of the e-economy. For example, UAE-based online luxury used fashion boutiques such as Bazaara or The Luxury Closet can draw on machine learning and algorithms to simplify the user experience by providing recommendations and products suited to their needs. AI can also enable the retailer to analyse trends and predict consumer behaviour, aiding with future strategy and decision-making.
  • Blockchain: The use of blockchain tech has expanded well beyond financial markets. With its chains of transparent, accountable digital information it can support the growth of online secondhand marketplaces, allowing retailers to authenticate brand-name goods. The UAE Roads and Transport Authority has been working on a project to create a vehicle lifecycle management system, which would enable the car industry to create transparent records from manufacture to scrap yard. UAE-based sites such as or Carswitch, which allow consumers to both source affordable vehicles and make some extra money off their old ones, will be able to benefit hugely from this kind of tech.

It’s not just about luxury fashion and cars, of course. Whether it’s fashion, cars, appliances, furniture or something else entirely, when it comes to reuse there are clear opportunities for tech startups looking to break into the green economy. And all such startups will rely on some or all of the techs mentioned above to remain competitive as more and more companies enter the market.

The future is most definitely not disposable. Those who invest in the reuse revolution will play a part in building a greener world for us all. And the opportunities for growth are limitless.

And that wraps up our first in our four-part series. In part 2, we’ll be looking at tech startup opportunities in the green energy space. To stay up to date on all our content, do check out our blog at