Another step forward for the UAE… 

Single-use plastics including bags, cups, plates, and cutlery will start to be banned as of next year. The Emirates News Agency (WAM) announced on Twitter that the bans will be enforced gradually in two parts: January, 1 2024 leading to a complete ban on January 1, 2026.

Here’s all you need to know… 

For the first stage, as of January 1, 2024, the UAE will introduce a ban on all single-use plastic bags. This prohibits the import, production, and circulation of all single-use bags.

The decision comes six months after Dubai began charging 25fils per plastic bag in supermarkets, while Abu Dhabi introduced the plastic bag ban back in June 2022.

Then, from January 1, 2026 all other single-use plastics will be prohibited. This includes soft drink cups and covers, cutlery, plates, pipettes, stirrers, food containers, plastic bottles, packaging, wipes, cotton buds, balloon sticks, and boxes made of plastic or styrofoam.

Single-use plastic bags and products made from recycled materials in the UAE are exempt.

The government urge shoppers, retailers, and all concerned parties to prepare and ensure “the readiness and availability of suitable, sustainable and multi-use alternatives in all shopping stores, retail stores and sales outlets on a permanent basis”.

When the ban was first announced in Dubai, the Executive Council put out some startling facts stating that it takes 400 years for plastic bags to decompose. An additional thousand years is needed to mitigate their negative environmental impact.

What are the alternatives for single-use plastic bags?

In terms of alternatives to single-use plastic bags, the education of shoppers about the benefits of using and being charged for ‘bags for life’ (resuable bags) is key. There are also plastic alternatives like paper, jute, mesh, cloth bags and more. You can buy these alternatives in most supermarkets including Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket, Spinneys, and Waitrose for as little as Dhs1.

Images: Getty