20220605 plastic bags
The move to charge single-use plastic bags has prompted UAE residents to turn to reusable bags for grocery shopping. Image Credit: Gulf News

Plastic is not fantastic. Abu Dhabi has banned single-use plastic bags, while Dubai has taken a firm first step towards banning them. That’s why we carry reusable bags to shop for groceries.

Even before the measures were put in place, the general advice was to reduce the usage of plastic bags. Big supermarket chains had reusable bags on sale at the till.

Gulf News too gave subscribers jute bags as part of its Go Green campaign. It was a hit. So popular that many people are still using it. One of them was even spotted in Canada.

A dangerous convenience 

All these were part of attempts to wean us away from the convenience of plastic bags. Yet, most shoppers like me ignored them, preferring to bag groceries in plastic, despite being aware of the dangers it posed to our fragile environment.

For me, it wasn’t for lack of effort. It was plain laziness. I kept the reusable bags in the car but never took them to supermarkets. At the till, I remembered that the bags were in the car but didn’t bother to fetch them. If I can get free plastic bags, why should I trudge to the car? So I continued to use plastic bags.

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That was until the UAE said no to plastic bags. Now, Dubai supermarkets charge 25 fils for single-use plastic bags. It means I will have to fork out a tidy sum every week to bag all the groceries. To save that, I take reusable bags when I go shopping.

Yet, I forget. I still leave them in my car. So what do I do? I put all the groceries in the trolley, wheel it to my car, and put them in bags. It works. I no longer use single plastic bags, and I don’t let my poor memory get in the way of helping to save the environment. No guilt there.

It’s been nearly four weeks since Dubai’s move on single-use plastic bags? Do I miss them? No, not all. I guess it was more of a habit. It’s like stubbing out a smoking addiction.

Reusable bags are permanently kept in my car. So there’s no chance of forgetting to take them with me. Single-use plastic bags have become a memory. I’m glad that I am finally contributing to ridding the planet of the plastic menace.