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Dubai’s green tariff comes into effect

A charge of 25 fils will be imposed on all single-use bags that have a thickness of less than 57 micrometres.

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July 1 2022
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Starting today (July 1), shoppers in Dubai will be charged 25 fils to get single-use bags. The charge not only applies to plastic, but all kinds of single-use bags that have a thickness of less than 57 micrometres. These include paper, biodegradable plastic, oxo-plastics and plant-based biodegradable materials. The tariff applies in all stores that use single-use bags to carry goods, including retail stores, restaurants, pharmacies, e-commerce services and delivery services. 

The policy does not include packing bags for vegetables, fruits, meat and fish, but only those used for “carrying goods”.  

Talking about the move, Eng. Abdulmajeed Abdulaziz Saifaie, Director of the Waste Management Department, Dubai Municipality said, “Single-use carrier bags are a major source of litter and pollution in our environment. These bags do not decompose until after a very long period of time and are used only once – perhaps twice – before they are disposed of. For example, single-use bags take 400 years to decompose and thousands of years to reduce their negative effects. These bags may also cause blockage of the digestive tract and the death of some animals, such as camels, goats and deer.”  

Earlier in the year, it was announced that Dubai would introduce a ‘green tariff’ on single-use plastic bags but in May the Dubai Municipality clarified that the rule applies to single-use bags of all materials, not just plastic. Eng. Saifaie pointed out, “It should be noted that alternatives often have a larger environmental footprint than plastic bags although they are easier to manage at the disposal stage and cause less environmental and health damage, provided they are used properly. For example, the production of paper bags is also harmful to the environment and leads to the cutting of large quantities of trees and the consumption of great resources and energy, and therefore its use also requires the payment of fees.” 

He further added, “Imposing charges is the first step to changing behaviour in society and then comes reducing the amount of waste and environmental damage caused by single-use bags.”  

According to the Municipality, the stores may provide bags of another type as an alternative to plastic bags, but the tariff will be applied to alternatives if the specifications match single-use bags.  However, the stores are not obligated to provide free alternatives as the goal is to bring about a change in consumer behaviour in order to preserve the environment, the municipality said, adding that the shoppers are encouraged to bring their own bags instead of buying bags from the store.  

Dubai has set out plans to completely ban single-use plastic after two years. The items to be banned will be specified at a later date.