The UAE announces blanket ban on single-use plastic bags from 2024.
The Emirates News Agency (WAM) announced on Twitter that a ministerial resolution prohibits the import, production and circulation of single-use plastic shopping bags from next year, January 1, 2024.
UAE to ban single-use plastic bags from 2024
The bans will be enforced gradually in two parts: January, 1 2024 leading to a complete ban on January 1, 2026.
From January 1, 2024, plastic bags of any material or composition will be prohibited. This prohibits the import, production, and circulation of all single-use bags.
From January 1, 2026, the country will ban plastic or foam products like cups, plates, cutlery, containers and boxes. These include spoons, forks, knives, chopsticks, straws and stirrers.
The ban will include everything from “food packaging, plastic bottles, cotton sticks, crackers bags and cigarette butts … wet wipes, balloons and balloon sticks” that contain plastic.
The government said authorities, retailers, suppliers and consumers should prepare with “suitable, sustainable and multi-use alternatives in all shopping stores, retail stores and sales outlets on a permanent basis”, the agency reported.
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.
Plastic bags are one of the most problematic kinds of waste, polluting streets and waterways and harming birds and marine life. It takes decades to degrade and microscopic particles have been found inside the bodies of fish, birds and other animals.
As of now, 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.
In Abu Dhabi, the June 1 ban has already led to 87 million fewer single-use plastic bags being used, a cut of about 90 per cent.
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