Chic shopping totes to suit all budgets as Dubai bans single-use bags

Shop in style as the sustainability-focused single-use plastic bag ban comes into effect in Dubai

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On June 1, a ban on single-use plastic bags will come into effect in Dubai.

Dubai Municipality announced the ban earlier this year. It is being introduced to support Dubai’s efforts to eliminate the use of disposable items and promote a more sustainable city as part of its #DubaiMoreSustainable initiative.

What is included in Dubai's plastic bag ban?

Bags thinner than 57 micrometres, whether made from plastic, paper, or even biodegradable materials, will be banned. Some specific exemptions include bags thicker than 58 micrometres and bags used for wrapping certain foods, such as poultry and bread. Bags used for products purchased online, bin liners and laundry bags are also still allowed, as well as electronic device bags and grain bags.

Additionally, stores will not be required to provide free alternatives and a penalty fine of Dh200 will be enforced for non-compliance, capped at Dh2,000 for repeat offenders.

Meaning, if shoppers don't want to be billed for packing up their goods in new reusable bags at the till (and want to do their bit for the planet), then it's time to dig out those durable totes or invest in something new that will stand the test of time.

Splurge or save: Reusable shopping totes to suit all budgets

Luckily, there are plenty of options. High-street offerings include colourful natural fibre or cotton bags (that can double up as beach-ready options), while more luxury offerings include a sturdier structure. Many home-grown brands also have options simple in style or playful in appeal.

Luxury totes worth the investment

If a colourful investment piece is preferred, Christian Louboutin's Dh11,050 Breizcaba tote will do the trick. Bright yellow, pink and orange cotton is further elevated with felt embroidery, metal buttons and signature stud details, while leather straps will hold the weight of a heavy beauty haul. The design is a homage to the designer's love for Brittany, France, and its paisley-print interior boasts plenty of space for a daily grocery shop alongside your essentials.

For that high-quality, built-to-last feel without the head-turning side effect, Versace's Raffia elegant tote bag, Dh7,000, may be more suitable. Made with straw (but well structured with its boxy shape), flair is added in the form of the Versace name written across the bag in a burnt orange hue, with leather handles to match. Complete with an inside zip pocket, it's useful for keeping your keys handy while also stocking up.

Affordable reusable bags from high-street favourites

The simple shopper (pictured above) is made from 100 per cent paper, comes in hot pink, burnt orange and chocolate brown, and costs Dh199. While large enough for several books and magazines, it also comes with a smaller strap over the shoulder. If you want to go supersized, Mango's large natural fibre shopper bag in forest green, Dh369, comes with more space, a thicker over-the-shoulder strap and an inside magnet fastener to keep all your goods together.

Over at H&M, the cotton blend shopper, Dh169, is best for those who stick to a more monochrome palette. In true Swedish style, this high-street number is simple yet functional and can double up for beach days and mall visits. It is a good pocket-friendly option that also makes supermarket packing a breeze. It costs only Dh95, and is available in khaki and white.

Chic shopping bags by UAE brands

Local, smaller businesses can be supported too, with many home-grown brands selling supermarket-ready totes. Take All Things Mochi – bold prints are the bag at this UAE-born, but Amsterdam-designed brand, and items such as the Lucy Tote Bag, Dh235, are visually striking, and crafted using vintage fabrics from Jaipur, India.

Desert Totes, meanwhile, does what it says on the tin. The Dubai-born brand creates responsibly sourced fashion and homeware pieces, including The Camille Tote, Dh210. A simple take on a sustainable bag, it easily folds away for spur-of-the-moment shopping sprees.

The move to ban single-use plastic bags after Dubai Municipality published guidance for businesses and consumers in March. It read: “The goal of this initiative is to unify the efforts as individuals, institutions and partners in both the public and the private sectors towards sustainable practices in our daily lives.”

On January 1, the ban will extend to single-use plastic items such as straws, cotton swabs, stirrers and cups and will also be applied to plates, cutlery and food containers by January 1, 2026.

Updated: June 03, 2024, 1:31 PM