Dubai stores to charge for plastic from tomorrow: All you need to know

A complete ban will be implemented within two years


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Fri 20 May 2022, 2:54 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 Jun 2022, 7:00 AM

Starting July 1, retail, textile and electronic stores, restaurants and pharmacies will charge 25 fils on single-use bags at counters. The tariff is also applicable to e-commerce deliveries.

The policy will be evaluated ‘over several stages’ until single-use carrier bags are completely banned within two years, the Executive Council of Dubai announced in February.

Citing a survey, the Executive Council of Dubai said 100 per cent of businesses support introducing a total ban or imposition of a charge on single-use bags. About 85 per cent of Dubai’s residents said they would support the move as well.

Hundreds of camels and turtles die every year after consuming plastic in the country. The Dubai Executive Council said the policy would enhance environmental sustainability and encourage individuals to reduce the use of plastics.

On Friday, Dubai Municipality issued a Q&A responding to all pertinent questions residents and retailers may have about the upcoming plastic ban.

Here is all you need to know:

What are the specifications and quality of the bags covered by the decision?

The tariff will be applied to all single-use bags used to carry goods at the point of purchase according to the following specifications:

Each bag is less than 57 micrometres thick. This includes bags made of plastic, paper, biodegradable plastic and plant-based biodegradable materials

Does the store have to abide by the 25 fils per bag tariff?

All stores must apply a tariff of 25 fils for each single-use bag, and a different tariff can be placed on sustainable (reusable) alternatives if provided by the store.

Can paper bags be used as a free alternative?

The tariff applies to all single-use bags for carrying goods, including paper bags with a thickness of fewer than 57 micrometres, and stores are not obligated to provide free alternatives, as the goal is to push a change in consumer behaviour to preserve the local environment.

Is the tariff mandatory in the shops, or is it optional?

The tariff is mandatory for all stores that provide single-use bags to carry goods.

Is it possible to provide bags of another quality as an alternative to plastic bags?

Yes, but the tariff applies to the alternatives if the specifications match the single-use bags for carrying goods

When will the tariff be applied? And when will the circulation of bags be banned in general?

The tariff will be applied from July 1, 2022. A complete ban will be implemented within two years.

Do I have a deadline to organise the working mechanism and cover the needs of the decision?

Yes, there are four months to apply the tariff and then two years to ban the use of single-use bags. The prohibited goods will be determined at a later time.

How do I show the value on the purchase invoice?

It can be added like any other item recorded on the invoice at the time of purchase.

Is there a limit on the number of bags sold per consumer?

There is no cap on the number of bags sold per consumer, but we recommend that employees at payment points be trained to rationalize the use of bags when packing and delivering purchases.

Is the tariff calculated even if the consumer brings his bags?

The tariff is not calculated if the consumer brings his bags.

To whom does the transfer of revenues from single-use bags belong?

Transfer of revenue belongs to the private sector, and we recommend that it be donated to support sustainable initiatives either through the company or through local environmental and community associations

Why was a tariff imposed on single-use bags, and what are the benefits of the decision?

Disposable bags for carrying goods are a major source of litter and pollution in our environment. These bags do not decompose until after a very long period and are used only once - perhaps twice - before disposal. Most of them are only used once to carry goods from the store to the home.

For example, single-use bags take 400 years to decompose and thousands of years to reduce their negative effects. A study from a local authority found that about 86 per cent of the sea turtles that were found dead on the beaches of some emirates in the country had consumed plastic materials thinking they were jellyfish.

These bags may also cause blockage of the digestive tract and the death of some animals, such as camels, goats and deer. A study from the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency found that 50 per cent of the dead camels had consumed plastic.

Does the tariff apply to single-use plastic bags only?

As for other bags, it should be noted that alternatives often have a larger environmental footprint than plastic bags but are easier to manage at the disposal stage and cause less environmental and health damage, provided they are used properly.

For example, the production of paper bags is also harmful to the environment and leads to the cutting of large quantities of trees and the consumption of great resources and energy therefore, its use also requires paying the imposed fees. Single-use plastic bags have a lower environmental footprint than paper bags in manufacturing, but their damages lie in the disposal stage. We need to use paper bags at least three to seven times to have a lower environmental impact than non-recyclable plastic bags that carry goods.


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