Dubai: Major retailers on Monday said they are fully committed to support the latest move towards sustainability that will see a 25fils tariff on single-use plastic shopping bags from July followed by a complete ban within two years in Dubai.
V. Nandakumar, Director - Marketing & Communications, Lulu Group, said: “We are fully aligned with the vision of moving away from single-use plastic bags throughout our stores and online shopping. In fact, we have been very aggressively promoting reusable shopping bags for last two years, with an aim of achieving our goals of ‘zero’ single-use plastic bag by 2023. We also intend to roll out a new campaign to increase customer awareness in this regard.”
E-commerce deliveries included
On Monday, The Executive Council of Dubai said the move comes “to limit single-use bags to enhance environmental sustainability.” Restaurants, pharmacies and e-commerce deliveries are included in the new rule.
Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner, Al Maya Group, said: “The newly announced [tariff] is a great decision to enhance environmental sustainability. There will be a good impact on the environment. Al Maya Group welcomes this initiative, and we are ready to support Dubai for all efforts to save the environment.”
Naresh Kumar Bhawnani, founder and chairman of West Zone Group, said the upcoming tariff will go a long way in saving the environment. “It will help reduce plastic consumption by 25 percent. However, there is another side to this: Going by the demographics of the population that lives in the UAE, many people are bachelors. They will [initially] not be able to manage with a [reusable] carry bag… But I think it is all about a mind-set change and after a while we will see everyone coming in with their own carry bags.”
Vasu Shroff, Chairman, Regal Group, said: "The government's decision will help the environment in a big way. While it may seem a difficult task in the beginning, slowly and gradually people will reset their needs to use plastic bags. In fact this decision will go a long way in creating a sustainable world. Our landfills have been dumped with plastic waste and it is not good for our environment. We are on the right path towards creating a sustainable environment."
Carrefour, Choithrams welcome move
Bernardo Perloiro, Chief Operating Officer of GCC at Majid Al Futtaim Retail, said: “We applaud the decision of Dubai’s Executive Council to introduce a 25 fils charge for single-use plastic bags to discourage excessive plastic consumption and encourage a more sustainable shopping behaviour from July 1. Carrefour was the first UAE retailer to offer a recyclable carrier bag in 2007 and we have since pledged to reduce the circulation of single-use plastic by 500 million bags each year. Whilst in 2019, we announced our company-wide pledge to phase out single-use plastic by 2025.
“Reusable bags are a cost-effective solution for customers, and luckily we come prepared. Carrefour offers a variety of reusable bags starting from Dh2.50, all of which have a lifetime warranty. In terms of capacity, one reusable bag equates to three-five plastic bags and can carry many more items. Using sustainable alternatives not only saves the environment but saves our customers money as they can avoid the future tariff whilst earning extra SHARE points through our loyalty scheme.
“Majid Al Futtaim has committed to becoming Net Positive in carbon and water by 2040 and has joined the United Nations Environment Programme to collaborate on resource efficiency and sustainable developments. All these initiatives are part of our move towards the creation of a circular economy and efforts to minimise our footprint on the environment, in line with our sustainability strategy ‘Dare Today, Change Tomorrow’.
“We are incredibly excited about the shift towards a plastic-free future and the opportunity to create lasting impact on the environment as we work together with our customers and the support of the government,” Perloiro added.
Rajiv Warrier, CEO – GCC, Choithrams, said: “We welcome the step taken to reduce and discourage the use of single-use plastic bags. Choithrams has been actively encouraging use of reusable shopping bags for years now. To help cut down on the usage of single-use plastic in the UAE, Choithrams had introduced a fee for plastic bags in select stores, in partnership with Emirates World Wide Fund for Nature (EWWF) in 2020. 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.”
Shoppers also welcomed the move, saying the development will also serve as a frequent reminder towards our shared environmental responsibility.
Indian expat Simran Sabharwal, 47, said: “This is a very positive move as it will act as a sound reminder to be more disciplined and environment conscious to carry our own reusable bags. I welcome the initiative whole heartedly.”
She added: “The consumption [of single-use plastic bags] should reduce significantly – not just because of the additional cost factor but also because it will be a constant reminder of our responsibility towards our future generation.”
Tracey Inglis, who is from New Zealand, is already using her own fabric reusable bags for shopping at supermarkets and shops. “[Some] retailers in the UAE had banned plastic bags then reintroduced them. People need to think of the impact plastic has not only on humans, but also on animals, including those that live in the sea,” said Inglis, 51.