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How UAE residents, grocers embracing single-use plastic ban

Wednesday, 08/02/2023

The UAE is pursuing a more environmentally friendly future and getting closer to its goal of becoming Net Zero by 2050. The nation declared a complete ban on single-use plastic shopping bags beginning January 1, 2023. 

The use of single plastic bags is restricted or prohibited in five of the United Arab Emirates' emirates. In Dubai, shops have begun charging 25 fils per bag since July 1, while it went into force in Abu Dhabi on June 1, 2022. On October 1, 2022, Sharjah instituted a fee on each single-use plastic bag. Starting on January 1, 2023, the prohibition was implemented by Umm Al Quwain and Ajman.

This has prepared UAE residents to embrace the change, making it a habit to minimize the excessive use of single-use plastic bags. Shoppers have turned to sustainable initiatives. 

Yaqoob Musba, a resident of Hamdan Street in Abu Dhabi, said it had become a habit to carry reusable bags whenever he steps out of his house. "We do not have a set time to go shopping, so we stock our reusable bags in the vehicle. Earlier, it seemed like a difficult task, but as we are used to it now, carrying reusable bags has become a norm in Abu Dhabi."

Aijaz Ahmed, a resident of Khalidiya in Abu Dhabi, believes that the ban on single-use plastic has made them responsible residents. "I have been listening to the stories of my cousins carrying reusable bags in the UK, which made me think it's such a big task to be equipped with them while grocery shopping. But now I feel it is easy and makes me a responsible resident."

Ahmed added, "Many residents in Abu Dhabi carry a reusable bag in their pocket whenever they go out."

Grocery salesperson's request shoppers to make it a habit to carry reusable bags. Storekeepers at Right way SuperMarket near Buhaira Corniche in Sharjah encourage their customers to bring reusable bags.

"It is a great initiative, and since last year, we have been urging our clients to carry a bag whenever they come to get groceries at our store" . "For deliveries, our boys have their reusable bags and boxes. We deliver the ordered items in these bags and bring them back.”, said the salesperson.

Another grocery based in Al Nahda in Sharjah embraces sustainable solutions to pack their items. "For the easy transformation from next year, we have reduced the amount of single-use plastic usage and request our customers to bring their bags. Whenever our regular customers shop at our store without a bag, we offer them free delivery service," said the storekeeper at Dawar Al Madeena Grocery.

"For veggies and fruits and foodstuffs such as rice and millet, we will soon start using paper bags to pack the items," added the grocer.

Many residents have made their shift from using single-use plastic to sustainable solutions. Harish Hegde, an engineer who recently moved to Dubai from the Indian city of Bengaluru, said he had embraced the change long back in his hometown. "Single-use plastics were banned in India a long time ago. However, when I came here, it was available at a price. After reading the news, I have decided to return to lessen the usage as it harms our environment," said Hedge.



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