Carrying reusable bags, providing alternatives: How UAE residents, grocers embracing single-use plastic ban

Salespersons request shoppers make it a habit to carry sustainable and reusable choices


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: AFP
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: AFP

Published: Wed 11 Jan 2023, 3:42 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 Jan 2023, 3:50 PM

The UAE is pushing toward a greener future and is moving closer to its strategy of achieving Net Zero by 2050. On Tuesday, the country announced a blanket ban on single-use plastic shopping bags from January 1, 2024.

Five emirates in the UAE have implemented a ban or regulated the use of single plastic bags. It came into effect in Abu Dhabi on June 1, 2022, while in Dubai, since July 1, retailers have been charging 25 fils per bag. Sharjah introduced a tariff per single-use plastic bag on October 1, 2022. Umm Al Quwain and Ajman imposed the ban from January 1, 2023.

This has prepared UAE residents to embrace the change, making it a habit to reduce the usage of single-use plastic bags. Shoppers have turned to sustainable initiatives.

Yaqoob Musba, a resident of Hamdan Street in Abu Dhabi, said it had become a habit to carry reusable bags whenever he steps out of his house. "We do not have a set time to go shopping, so we stock our reusable bags in the vehicle. Earlier, it seemed like a difficult task, but as we are used to it now, carrying reusable bags has become a norm in Abu Dhabi."

Aijaz Ahmed, a resident of Khalidiya in Abu Dhabi, believes that the ban on single-use plastic has made them responsible residents. "I have been listening to the stories of my cousins carrying reusable bags in the UK, which made me think it's such a big task to be equipped with them while grocery shopping. But now I feel it easy and makes me a responsible resident."

Ahmed added, "Many residents in Abu Dhabi carry a reusable bag in their pocket whenever they go out."

Grocery salespersons request shoppers to make it a habit to carry reusable bags. Storekeepers at Right way Super Market near Buhaira Corniche in Sharjah encourage their customers to bring reusable bags.

"It is a great initiative, and since last year, we have been urging our clients to carry a bag whenever they come to get groceries at our store," said the salesperson.

"For deliveries, our boys have their reusable bags and boxes. We deliver the ordered items in these bags and bring them back."

Another grocery based in Al Nahda in Sharjah embraces sustainable solutions to pack their items. "For the easy transformation from next year, we have reduced the amount of single-use plastic usage and request our customers to bring their bags. Whenever our regular customers shop at our store without a bag, we offer them free delivery service," said the storekeeper at Dawar Al Madeena Grocery.

"For veggies and fruits and foodstuffs such as rice and millet, we will soon start using paper bags to pack the items," added the grocer.

Many residents have made their shift from using single-use plastic to sustainable solutions.

Harish Hegde, an engineer who recently moved to Dubai from the Indian city of Bangaluru, said he had embraced the change long back in his home town. "Single-use plastics were banned in India a long time ago. However, when I came here, it was available at a price. After reading the news, I have decided to return to lessen the usage as it harms our environment," said Hedge.


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