Dubai eateries confused about styrofoam cup ban

Dubai eateries confused about styrofoam cup ban

Ministry of Economy bans styrofoam cups for serving hot and sour beverages; municipality says they are perfectly safe.

By Salah Al Deberky/staff Reporter

Published: Wed 18 Feb 2015, 1:56 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:27 PM

Dubai — Even as the Ministry of Economy’s Consumer Protection Department banned the use of styrofoam cups for serving hot and sour beverages last week, the Dubai Municipality on Sunday issued a statement saying they are perfectly safe.

The Consumer Protection Department had cited “local and international studies” to show that they harm human health, while the municipality said it has not received any negative report from international bodies on the issue.

Even the Sharjah Municipality has banned the use of plastic and foam cups to serve hot beverages.

Terming reports doing the rounds on the social media and those by the local media “unclear”, the municipality said there is no corroborated report that banned the use of styrofoam.

The municipality in its statement said if foam cups prove to cause cancer or any diseases, it would be the first entity to ban it.


Styrofoam cups are widely used in cafeterias and restaurants in the UAE to serve tea to customers. Eatery owners and staff in Dubai said they are confused on whether its use is banned or not.

Saying he has not received any information on a ban, one of the owners said: “We are confused. What will happen if a Ministry of Economy inspector visits us and issues us a fine for using foam cups?”

Anjaya, an Indian worker at a restaurant in Deira, said: “We have not received any notice to ban serving tea in foam cups. In the past, we used to serve tea in plastic cups, but after the Dubai Municipality sent us a notice to stop using it to serve tea, we switched to foam cups.

“Some customers did inform us that they read reports in newspapers that the Ministry of Economy banned its use. But we have not received any notice from any government entity in this regard.”

Anjaya said some customers are insisting that they serve tea to them in paper cups. “We don’t have paper cups. We even contacted the Dubai Municipality to understand if there is a ban, but there wasn’t.

“What will happen if a customer complains to the Ministry of Economy that we used foam cups? Will we be fined?”

Abdullah Shaikh, an Indian working at a cafeteria, said: “Since the past two days, clients have been asking us to serve them hot beverages in paper cups instead of foam ones. They threatened to take the issue to the Ministry of Economy.

“I have kept newspaper clippings in which the (Dubai) municipality has denied that there is a ban to reassure customers about its safety.” -

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