Dubai Can saves 3.5 million bottles in six months as tide turns on single-use plastics

The emirate now has 46 fountains installed, with plans for more by December

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Green initiative Dubai Can has helped to reduce the usage of single-use plastic by the equivalent of more than 3.5 million bottles, the government said on Wednesday.

Launched in February by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, the project has seen 46 fountains installed in various locations across the city, including public parks, beaches and tourist attractions. It aims to encourage people to carry refillable bottles.

Dubai Can water stations are now located in various neighbourhoods, including Kite Beach, Dubai Marina, JLT, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Harbour, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai Festival City and Khawaneej.

Further public fountains are planned for the city, with a pledge to install more than 50 fountains by December.

More than 750 companies, from both the government and private sector, have supported the Dubai Can initiative. Photo: Dubai Can

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism said the sustainability movement has seen many private companies invest in water fountains for their offices to discourage employees from using single-use plastics in their workspaces.

More than 750 companies, from both the government and private sector, have supported the Dubai Can initiative.

Atlantis, The Palm invested Dh1.2 million ($300,000) in the design, build and implementation of a customised on-site water purification and bottling plant that will be launched next month.

"As one of the largest hotels in Dubai and in the region, the action of removing 2.7 million plastic bottles from our operation every year is an impactful one," said Kelly Timmins, director of conservation, education and CSR at Atlantis, The Palm.

She said Atlantis, The Palm will eliminate all single-use plastic bottles by the end of 2023.

Several schools have also supported the campaign by installing water stations.

Cultural shift

The Dubai Can initiative follows the emirate's move to place a levy on the use of single-use plastic bags and aims to raise awareness about sustainability issues. Authorities said they wanted to create a "cultural shift" in the mindset of residents.

On July 1, Dubai introduced a charge of 25 fils ($0.06) on all bags made of plastic, paper, biodegradable plastic and plant-based biodegradable materials that are less than 57 micrometres thick.

The charge is the first step towards a complete ban on single-use plastic bags in Dubai in 2024.

In the first month of the charge, retailers reported a dramatic fall in plastic use among shoppers, with supermarket chain Spinneys saying it saw a 90 per cent reduction in usage of single-use bags.

On June 1, Abu Dhabi became the first place in the Middle East to ban single-use plastic bags.

The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi said it plans to gradually reduce the amount of single-use plastic products used in the emirate and encourage the use of reusable products.

It said it will implement measures to reduce demand for about 16 single-use plastic products, including cups, stirrers, lids and cutlery.

The agency also said it will also phase out single-use styrofoam cups, plates and food containers by 2024.

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Updated: September 07, 2022, 10:52 AM
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