Dubai single-use plastic bag ban to begin on Monday

Other emirates expected to start phase out of disposable plastic products

A nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags comes into effect on Monday. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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A law banning single-use plastic bags will take effect in Dubai on Monday.

The resolution, issued by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, bans the import and trading of single-use plastic products in a phased approach, starting with plastic bags on January 1.

A decision to ban single-use plastic bags in all Emirates was taken at the start of 2023 by the UAE government. Each will begin to do so from Monday according to each emirate's own resolutions.

In Dubai, non-plastic single-use products, including single-use bags, will be included in the ban from June 1, 2024, according to Wam.

Pathway to plastic-free

Starting from January 1, 2025, single-use plastic products, including items such as plastic stirrers, table covers, cups, styrofoam food containers, plastic straws, and plastic cotton swabs, will also be prohibited.

Commencing on January 1, 2026, the ban will extend to other single-use plastic products including plastic plates, plastic food containers, plastic tableware, and beverage cups and their plastic lids.

The ruling contains exceptions that include plastic bags made from recycled materials. It also includes plastics required in goods that are exported abroad.

What is included in the ban?

The ban also includes food delivery packaging materials, thick plastic bags, plastic containers, and packaging materials either partially or entirely made of plastic, such as those used for plastic bottles, snack bags, wet wipes, balloons, and balloon sticks.

If a business continues to use single-use plastic bags, a fine of Dh200 will be given if the ban is violated, and will double each time the offence is committed within 12 months up to a maximum of Dh2,000.

The federal ruling goes further than previous rules from 2022 in Dubai, which imposed a nominal 25 fils charge on plastic bags, and in Abu Dhabi, which banned most plastic bags.

In Abu Dhabi, the June 1 ban from 2022 had already led to 87 million fewer single-use plastic bags after six months, a cut of about 90 per cent.

The ban does not apply to thin-film rolls used for packaging meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, grains, and bread, along with rubbish bags.

Exemptions also extend to single-use plastic products, such as shopping bags or disposable items, intended for export or re-export outside the country.

Updated: December 31, 2023, 7:15 PM