Establishing a Scrap Metal Business in Dubai: A Practical Guide


Connect with our team to start your business !

Dubai, with its iconic structures and bustling economy, holds promises for entrepreneurs seeking lucrative ventures. One such promising business is the scrap metal industry. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands proudly among the top ten global suppliers of ferrous scrap, playing a pivotal role in the ever-expanding global scrap metal market. Derived from diverse sources such as manufacturing, households, automobiles, and international markets, scrap metal has become a valuable commodity with a growing demand.

According to the British Metal Recycling Association (BMRA), a staggering 400 million metric tons of metals are recycled worldwide each year. The significance of metal recycling has become increasingly pronounced as governments and individuals embrace environmental consciousness. The finite supply of scrap metal, coupled with its vital role in reducing landfill waste, underscores the continued relevance and value of this industry.

This blog delves into the intricacies of establishing a scrap metal business in Dubai.


Embarking on the journey of establishing a scrap metal business in Dubai demands a thorough understanding of the legal framework and regulatory landscape. The business environment in the emirate is shaped by federal laws, local regulations, and industry-specific guidelines. A comprehensive understanding of these legal nuances is essential for a smooth and compliant business setup.

Types of Licenses for Scrap Metal Operations

Trade License – At the core of any business setup is the trade license, and for a scrap metal business in Dubai, obtaining a trade license is the first step. The license categorization will depend on the nature of your operations, such as trading, manufacturing, or recycling.

Environmental License – Given the environmental implications of scrap metal operations, acquiring an environmental license is crucial. This license ensures that your business adheres to environmentally sustainable practices, including proper waste management and recycling processes.

Free Zone vs. Mainland License – Entrepreneurs must decide between a free zone license and a mainland license based on their business model. Free zone licenses provide various benefits, including full ownership, while mainland licenses may require a local sponsor with a 51% stake. Understanding the implications of each option is vital.

Customs Clearance and Import/Export License – If your scrap metal business involves international trade, a customs clearance and import/export license are necessary. Dubai’s strategic location as a global trading hub makes these licenses integral to businesses engaged in cross-border activities.

Permits Specific to Metal Scrap Operations

Waste Management Permit – Given the nature of the scrap metal business, obtaining a waste management permit is essential. This permit ensures that your operations comply with regulations related to the collection, sorting, and disposal of waste materials.

Transportation Permits – If your business involves the transportation of scrap metal within Dubai or across borders, securing the necessary transportation permits is critical. This includes permits for the movement of goods on roads and potentially maritime transport for export.

Health and Safety Permits – Ensuring the well-being of your workforce is paramount. Health and safety permits are required to demonstrate compliance with regulations governing workplace safety. This includes measures to prevent accidents, provide protective equipment, and adhere to occupational health standards.

Professional consultancy services such as those offered by Set Hub can provide insights into the specific requirements for your scrap metal business, streamline the application process, and ensure adherence to all legal and regulatory obligations.


As the global shift towards sustainability gains momentum, businesses, including those in the scrap metal industry, are under increasing scrutiny to adopt environmentally responsible practices. Dubai, a beacon of modernity and innovation, places a premium on environmental conservation and workplace safety.

Adhering to Environmental Regulations

  • Waste Segregation and Management

Dubai’s environmental regulations emphasise the proper segregation and management of waste, especially in industries dealing with scrap materials. Implementing a comprehensive waste segregation system within your facility ensures compliance with environmental standards and contributes to responsible waste disposal.

  • Recycling Processes

Integrating efficient recycling processes is not just a regulatory requirement but also a strategic move towards sustainability. Clearly delineate procedures for cleaning, sorting, and recycling scrap metal to minimise environmental impact and maximise resource efficiency.

  • Air and Water Quality Control

Scrap metal operations can potentially release pollutants into the air and water. Adhering to strict controls on emissions and discharges is crucial. Regular monitoring and reporting of air and water quality indicators demonstrate your commitment to environmental stewardship.

  • Energy Efficiency

Strive for energy-efficient practices in your operations. From equipment selection to facility design, incorporating energy-saving measures not only aligns with environmental goals but also contributes to cost savings in the long run.

Safety Protocols for Scrap Metal Handling and Processing

Employee Training

Investing in comprehensive training programs for your workforce is foundational to ensuring safety. Equip employees with the knowledge and skills to handle and process scrap metal safely, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and emergency response procedures.

Equipment Safety Measures

Implementing safety features on machinery and equipment is paramount. Regular maintenance checks, proper labelling, and the installation of safety guards contribute to accident prevention. Additionally, provide clear instructions for the safe operation of equipment.

Emergency Response Plans

Develop and regularly update detailed emergency response plans tailored to the unique challenges of scrap metal operations. This includes protocols for fire incidents, chemical spills, and medical emergencies. Conduct regular drills to ensure that all employees are familiar with these procedures.

Site Security Measures

Safeguard your premises by implementing security measures to prevent unauthorised access. This not only protects valuable assets but also minimises the risk of accidents or mishaps involving untrained individuals.

In Conclusion

Launching a scrap metal business in Dubai necessitates a meticulous approach, encompassing crucial steps such as rigorous market analysis, selecting an appropriate business space, obtaining the requisite licenses, and prioritising environmental considerations and safety protocols.

As Dubai continues to evolve as a global economic hub, the scrap metal sector holds significant potential for growth, presenting entrepreneurs with opportunities to contribute to both the economy and environmental conservation. By embracing innovation, adhering to best practices, and staying attuned to market trends, businesses in the scrap metal industry can forge a path towards long-term viability and success in the vibrant business landscape of Dubai.