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Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai Image Credit: Twitter/@DXBMediaOffice

Dubai: Single-use plastic bags will be banned in Dubai from January 1, 2024, according to a new resolution issued on Sunday.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, has issued an Executive Council Resolution No. (124) of 2023 on single-use products, with the ultimate goal of protecting the environment, encouraging people to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle, and promoting the culture of using reusable products to advance sustainable development.

The move also aims to encourage the private sector to promote the use of recycled products, aligning with circular economy practices that foster sustainable recycling of products in local markets. The Resolution also seeks to regulate the use and the recycling of single-use products and plastics products.

What is banned

The Resolution applies to single-use disposable products and recycled ones, including both plastics and non-plastic items, regardless of their material composition. These include plastic and non-plastic single-use products, as well as food delivery packaging materials, fruit and vegetable wrapping, thick plastic bags, plastic containers, and packaging materials either partially or entirely made of plastic, such as those used for plastic bottles, snack bags, wet wipes, balloons, and balloon sticks besides food packaging. These regulations extend to sellers and consumers within the Emirate of Dubai, covering private development zones and free zones, including the Dubai International Financial Centre.

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Municipality’s mandate

According to the Resolution, Dubai Municipality, in collaboration with relevant entities, is entrusted with a number of responsibilities including organising awareness campaigns to educate and motivate community members to reduce the use of plastic materials and single-use products, encouraging sellers to actively support projects, initiatives, and programmes focused on reducing the usage of plastic materials and single-use products, while also promoting the availability of reusable alternatives to reduce environmental impact.

How it will work in three phases

The Resolution imposes a ban on the import and trading of single-use products in a phased approach.

The ban will apply to plastic bags starting from January 1, 2024. Non-plastic single-use products, including single-use bags, will come under the ambit of the ban from June 1, 2024.

Starting from January 1, 2025, single-use plastic products, including items such as plastic stirrers, table covers, cups, styrofoam food containers, plastic straws, and plastic cotton swabs, will be prohibited.

Commencing on January 1, 2026, the ban will extend to other single-use plastic products including plastic plates, plastic food containers, plastic tableware, and beverage cups and their plastic lids.

What is not banned

As per the Resolution, the ban does not apply to the following products: single-use plastic bags, which include thin film rolls for packaging meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, grains, and bread, along with garbage bags. Exemptions also extend to products intended for export or re-export outside the country. These items include single-use plastic shopping bags, single-use shopping bags, and single-use disposable plastic products. The resolution prohibits the trading of these products in local markets and necessitates clear indication of their purpose for export or re-export outside the country.

Relevant authorities

The Resolution requires all relevant authorities and entities, as well as consumers, to collaborate on developing and implementing mechanisms and practices aimed at reducing the production and consumption of single-use products, and to adopt practices and initiatives that foster increased reliance on the use of reusable products.

The Resolution also mandates sellers to actively participate in projects, initiatives, and programmes targeting the reduction of plastic materials and single-use products. Sellers must offer specified reusable alternatives at reasonable prices, as outlined by the relevant authorities.

Non-compliance and penalties

Violators of this Resolution shall face a fine of Dh200. If the same violation is repeated within one year from the date of the previous offence, the penalty will be doubled, with a maximum not exceeding Dh2,000 when doubled.

Violators may contest the decisions taken against them by submitting written grievances to the Director-General of the relevant government department responsible for licensing economic activities in the emirate. These entities include the Department of Economy and Tourism, as well as authorities overseeing private development zones and free zones, including the Dubai International Financial Centre. The grievances must be submitted within ten working days from the date of notification regarding the decision, action, or administrative penalty. A committee, formed for this purpose by the Director-General, will resolve the complaint within ten working days from its submission. The decision issued on the complaint is deemed final.

This Resolution annuls any other decision that may contradict its provisions. The Resolution is effective from 1 January, 2024 and will be published in the Official Gazette.