UAE: Major Abu Dhabi retail outlets sign agreement to implement Single-Use Plastics Policy

Ban on single-use plastic bags in Capital from June 1



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Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Mon 23 May 2022, 2:56 PM

The ban on single-use of plastic bags in Abu Dhabi will come into effect from June 1, following the signing of an agreement with major retailers pledging to support the new policy aimed to reduce single use plastics, authorities have announced.

A group of senior executives from major retail outlets in Abu Dhabi on Monday signed a voluntary declaration, committing them to support the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy.

The policy was launched by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) in March 2020, which, along with subsequent regulations, will help the emirate’s marine and land environment remain free from single-use plastic waste.

Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secrettary General of EAD and Ahmed Tarish Al Qubaisi, Director of Control and Inspection Department from Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED), were present at Al Mamoura Building to witness the signing of the declaration by executives from major retail outlets in Abu Dhabi.

The leading brands included: Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society and Spar, Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket, Choithrams, Spinneys and Waitrose. The signatories expressed their commitment in not only implementing the policy, but also collecting fees on reusable bags in a bid to reduce their consumption.

The signing of the declaration supports efforts made by EAD to implement the integrated single-use plastics policy and will help achieve the UAE government's vision of promoting sustainable living. The policy includes a gradual reduction in the consumption of single-use plastic products across the Emirate, as well as promotes the use of reusable products.

According to the declaration, the retailers have also committed to cooperate, secure alternatives, resources, and financing to support environmental protection.

“By working with our partners, we seek to implement this policy and a number of measures to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic products and transition towards reusable materials. In the near future, there will be a gradual reduction of single-use and disposable plastic products and we will push for the promotion of multi-use products,” Dr. Al Dhaheri said during the signing of the agreement.

“The amount of single-use plastic constitutes 36 per cent of the global plastic production total, which is around 400 million tons annually. In the UAE, for example, 11 billion plastic bags are consumed annually (according to a report presented at the World Government Summit in February 2019). This is equivalent to 1,182 plastic bags per person annually. This is considered a very high rate compared to the global average of 307 bags per person annually.”

She stressed the importance of working together with residents and retail outlets to address the challenges related to single-use plastics, and their impact on the environment

“This is the responsibility of everyone for the goodness of our environment. Let’s learn the habit of using reusable bags when shopping for the protection of our environment,” said Al Dhaheri adding that the new policy will also promote online shopping which will reduce carbon footprint as people would limit their travel to shopping centers for in-person shopping.

Major retailers pledge to reduce consumption

Abdulmajeed Alkhoori, CEO of ADCOOPS said: "Since opening our first store in 1981 on the Corniche, in the heart of Abu Dhabi, we have maintained a strong sense of social responsibility and are fully committed to the declaration to reduce reliance on single-use plastic.

“Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society is committed to removing single use plastic from our outlets and across our business, and we proudly support the vision of our leadership to protect the natural beauty and environment of the UAE. This initiative to remove single-use plastic will be a big win for the health of our oceans, wadis and deserts. As a community retailer we will exert effort to help our customers to make the change towards a more sustainable and a greener future".

Ibrahim Al Zubi, Chief Sustainability Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Holding said: “Carrefour was the first UAE retailer to introduce reusable bags back in 2007 through its iconic starfish bag. The launch was followed by a robust sustainability campaign to raise awareness and encourage sustainable shopping behaviour that ran until this day.

“As an Emirati company, we have a commitment to protect and save our community, which is the reason we grew our sustainability operations exponentially over the past few years and pledged to eliminating single use plastic and becoming Net Positive in carbon and water by 2040.”

The CEO of Choithrams, Rajiv Warrier said: “At Choithrams, we are devoted to bringing the “Full of Goodness” promise at every step of the customer journey while taking care of the communities we serve.

“We welcome the decision taken by the Abu Dhabi authorities to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags. Choithrams has been actively encouraging use of reusable shopping bags for years now. Our multi-use ‘Bag for life’ is available for purchase at all Choithrams stores, these bags come with a lifetime guarantee and can be replaced if damaged. Together we can ensure a clean marine and terrestrial environment in UAE.”

Saifee Rupawala, CEO of Lulu Group International: “This landmark initiative is going to be a major game-changer in the fight against the negative impact of plastic on our precious environment and Lulu Group is fully committed to make “Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy” a grand success.

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“We have already launched a major awareness campaign throughout all our hypermarkets and in social media to achieve an impactful result from day one itself. In our second phase we will be implementing many innovative projects to further promote Re-usable shopping bags and various sustainability initiatives.”

The CEO of Fine Fare Food, Sunil Kumar, who runs both the Spinneys & Waitrose brands said: “As a retailer established in the region for more than sixty years ago, we have a great responsibility to help protect our local environment and eco-systems. We view the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy as a significant step forward that accelerates the UAE towards a cleaner, healthier future.”

ismail@khaleejtimes.com


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