DECPYP Government to introduce 5 pence charge for supermarket plastic bags, London. Image shot 2013. Exact date unknown.

UAE Announces Blanket Ban On Single-Use Plastic Bags From 2024

From January 1, 2024, the United Arab Emirates will be enforcing a blanket ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. According to a state news agency Wam, ministerial resolution prohibits the import, production and circulation of single-use plastic shopping bags from next year.

Therefore, products made of single-use materials will be banned. The country, from January 1, 2026, will ban plastic or foam products, such as plates, containers, boxes, cups, and cutlery. These include straws, forks, stirrers, spoons, knives, and chopsticks.

The decision excludes some products, including thin bag rolls used to keep food items fresh. Products that are to be exported or re-exported are exempted, provided they are clearly labelled. Bags made out of recycled materials in the country are exempted as well.

The authorities are requested to produce mechanisms to decrease the production of single-use materials to package items, including cigarettes, ear buds, balloons, wet wipes, and more.

The pan-UAE measures aim to protect the environment from plastic pollution. The decision limits the consumption of plastic and regulates its use at the federal level.

According to the decision, all stakeholders — including the authorities concerned and consumers — are required to work together to reduce dependence on single-use plastic. They are to adopt initiatives so that consumers switch to multi-use products. The authorities concerned must also make sure that alternatives are readily available at shopping centres and retail stores.

At least four emirates have announced bans or regulated the use of plastic so far. In Abu Dhabi, a ban on single-use plastics went into effect on June 1, while in Dubai, since July 1, retailers have been charging 25 fils per bag. Sharjah introduced a 25-fil tariff per single-use plastic bags from October 1, 2022, with a ban all set to go into effect from January 1, 2024. Umm Al Quwain banned single-use plastics from January 1, 2023.

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