Ban on single-use plastics in Abu Dhabi: All you need to know

Plastic grocery bags to be banned starting June 1

by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Tue 31 May 2022, 5:44 PM

Last updated: Tue 31 May 2022, 5:52 PM

A ban on the single-use of plastic products in Abu Dhabi will come into effect from June 1, under the emirate’s integrated Single-Use Plastic Policy. The initiative will prevent the sale of single-use plastic bags across all retailers.

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


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

The retailers committed to cooperate, secure alternatives, resources, and financing to support environmental protection. They said they were looking at alternatives to single-use of plastic bags, which are more sustainable and eco-friendlier.


What are the products banned under the single-use of plastic policy?

EAD says it's planning to implement measures to reduce demand for about 16 single-use plastic products.

These include: cups, stirrers, lids, straws, cutlery, plastic bottles, food containers, cotton buds, crisp packages, sweet wrappers, cigarette butts, wet wipes and sanitary items, sticks for balloons, balloons and microbeads (including nurdles).

However, in the latest notice issued by the Abu Dhabi Media Office, authorities clarified that currently, only single-use plastic grocery shopping bags will be banned starting June 1, 2022.

What is exempted from the ban?

  • Those designated to carry medicines in pharmacies
  • Rolls for vegetables, meat, fish, chicken, grains and bread (knot bags)
  • Large shopping bags designed for fashion or electronic gadgets, toys
  • Several types of waste packets
  • Ones that are meant to carry postal parcels, magazines and newspapers
  • Laundry bags
  • Those used to transport plants and flowers

Alternatives being offered by retailers

Authorities had explained that reusable bags that have the least environmental impact will be offered to shoppers by retailers as alternatives when grocery shopping regardless of the material they are made of.

Major retailers, shopping malls and pharmacies earlier told Khaleej Times that they are keen on supporting the government's policy and were looking at alternatives to single-use of plastic bags, which are more sustainable and eco-friendlier. These include reusable bags such as:

  • Jute bags at Dh7.5 each for some major hypermarkets
  • Biodegradable bags. Available at supermarkets at Dh2.5
  • New paper bags
  • Recycled paper bags
  • Cloth bags
  • Starch-based bags
  • Shoppers can also bring their own reusable bags for shopping

According to EAD, currently there are no environmental charges on alternatives to plastic bags. They have encouraged shoppers to bring their own bags and avoid purchasing one.

Who will enforce the ban single-use of plastics policy?

Inspectors from EAD have been trained on the new executive regulations regarding single-use plastic products and their alternatives in the Capital. They will monitor the implementation of the single-use bag ban from June 1.

The inspectors were educated on ways to implement the provisions of the regulation aimed at regulating the transition from the consumption of single-use plastic materials to the consumption of multi-use materials, which are less environmentally harmful during their life cycle.

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