Dubai: The UAE will impose a complete nationwide ban on single-use plastic shopping bags starting next year, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Tuesday.
Effective January 1, 2024, the UAE will limit the use of plastic bags and regulate the production, distribution, and use of single-use products, including biodegradable plastic bags, at the federal level. Additionally, the use of single-use bags of any material will also be prohibited as of this date.
Also, starting January 1, 2026, the UAE will also impose a blanket ban on the import, production, and trade of single-use plastic products. These products include plastic cups, lids, cutlery, forks, knives, and spoons), plates, food containers, and boxes made of foam (styrofoam).
This comes as part of Ministerial Resolution No. 380 of 2022, which regulates the use of single-use products in the country’s markets. The decision aims to protect the environment from pollution caused by the consumption of such products.
The resolution excludes certain products from the ban, including rolls of thin bags used according to what is specified in the guide issued by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in coordination with the concerned authorities. This is in addition to products intended for export or re-export that are clearly labeled for this purpose and products made from recycled materials in the UAE . These products are completely forbidden from being traded in the country’s markets.
Exemptions from the ban include single-use bags and products made from recycled materials within the country, as outlined in the guide issued by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Additionally, the competent authority has the discretion to identify and exclude other products and materials in coordination with the Ministry.
The resolution invited all relevant authorities, consumers, and stakeholders to implement mechanisms and practices to decrease the production and use of single-use products, such as partially or fully plastic packages and packaging materials, including those used in food packaging, plastic bottles, cotton swabs, cracker bags, cigarette butts, wet wipes, balloons, and balloon sticks.
The decision also emphasised the need to promote and support initiatives that increase the use of multi-use products and to ensure that sustainable, multi-use alternatives are readily available at all retail outlets on a permanent basis.
At the local level, a number of local governments launched initiatives banning the use of plastic bags. Earlier, last June, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi imposed a ban on the use of single-use plastic bags in the emirate.
In Dubai, the Executive Council adopted a policy, limiting single-use bags and imposing a tariff on the use of single-use bags of goods, as of July 1, 2022, in all stores in Dubai.
Also in Sharjah, the Executive Council issued a decision banning single-use plastic bags and materials in the Emirate as of January 1, 2024. The Executive Council of Umm Al Quwain also announced that the decision to ban the use of single-use plastic bags in the emirate will enter into force as of January 1, 2023.