20220605 plastic bags
Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: From July 1, 2022, single-use plastic bags in Dubai will no longer be free. With a tariff of 25fils per bag, users are being encouraged to switch to environmentally friendly shopping habits by reducing their dependence on single-use plastic bags. But did you know that you may be having a worse effect on the environment if you do not use alternatives to plastic bags often enough?

In an announcement earlier this year, Dubai Municipality educated users about how alternatives to single-use bags have their own ecological footprint and that you should use them accordingly, to ensure you are helping the environment. For example, using a paper bag instead of a single-use plastic bag will have a bigger ecological footprint, if you use it just once. According to Dubai Municipality, you would need to use a paper bag at least three to seven times to have a lower environmental impact than a non-recyclable plastic bag that carries goods.

Similarly, you need to be aware of the ecological footprint for each alternative and ensure you reuse them enough number of times, to not have a negative effect on the environment.

How often do I need to use an alternative to a single-use plastic bag?

Here is a breakdown of the number of times an alternative should be used:

• Paper bag – seven times at least.
• Recycled plastic bag – use the bag at least four times.
• Cotton fabric bag – use it at least 131 times.

If you do not use these alternatives enough number of times, you will end up having a larger environmental footprint compared to using single-use bags.

Which plastic bags will be banned?

The policy to implement a tariff on single-use bags will come into effect on July 1, 2022, in all stores operating in Dubai including restaurants, pharmacies and e-commerce deliveries.

The plastic bags that are being gradually phased out are single-use bags used to carry goods at the point of purchase, according to the following specifications:

1. Bag which are less than 57 micrometers thick.
2. This includes bags made of plastic, paper, biodegradable plastic, and plant-based biodegradable materials.

While you can still use single-use plastic bags if you pay 25fils per bag, over the next two years, these bags will be banned altogether.