The ban on single-use plastic grocery shopping bags in Abu Dhabi came into effect on June 1. Announcing the ban in April 2022, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) had said that the move was in line with its integrated Single-Use Plastic Policy that was introduced in 2020.
The EAD tweeted that the ban on single-use plastic bags will impact the future of plastic waste in the emirate and encourage the use of reusable bags and promote sustainable living in the emirate.
Retailers in the emirate have been encouraged to offer environment-friendly reusable bags with a nominal fee to encourage positive behavioural change in the community, and support emirate-wide efforts for a greener future.
The current ban does not apply to plastic bags designated to carry medicines in pharmacies, rolls for vegetables, meat, fish, chicken, grains and bread (knot bags), large shopping bags designed for fashion or electronic gadgets, toys and those used to transport plants and flowers. The EAD also plans to implement measures to reduce demand for about 16 single-use plastic products in the future. These include: cups, stirrers, lids, straws, cutlery, plastic bottles, food containers, cotton buds, crisp packages, sweet wrappers, cigarette butts, wet wipes and sanitary items, sticks for balloons, balloons and microbeads (including nurdles).
In support of the phasing out of single-use plastic, the EAD plans to carry out awareness campaigns across the emirate to educate the public on the new procedures.
Phasing-out styrofoam items
Additionally, the EAD is also heading towards phasing out single-use styrofoam cups, plates and food containers by 2024.
The comprehensive policy has been developed to promote a healthy environment and a sustainable lifestyle for all, and to combat climate change by reducing resource consumption and associated pollution, said the EAD.
Since the launch of the policy in March 2020, the Agency has coordinated extensively with its strategic partners concerned with implementing the policy, especially plastics producers and retailers, to ensure effective implementation, as new technical standards for multi-use bags have been set.
Furthermore, EAD is conducting a detailed and holistic study for the introduction of an incentive-based, single-use plastic water bottle return scheme in Abu Dhabi, in partnership with more than 30 private and public entities.