Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 30 October 2020

Alternatives to plastic bags - from canvas totes to keychain bags

Abu Dhabi plans to be free of disposable plastic bags by 2021

Reusable canvas and jute bags on display at Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Reusable canvas and jute bags on display at Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Abu Dhabi has announced an initiative to gradually phase out disposable plastics, in a first for the UAE.

The emirate is due to introduce compulsory charges for plastic bags before banning them completely within two years as it plans to be free of disposable plastic bags by 2021.

With the ban going into effect soon, now is the perfect time to get into the habit of bringing a reusable or recyclable alternative to the supermarket.

The below options come at a wide variety of price points and styles and can be stashed in your car, purse or backpack for maximum convenience.

Reusable plastic bags

Large high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bags are thicker and more durable than single-use ones.

These are non-biodegradable but are made to be reused many times, making them a better option than the disposable ones.

They are currently available at checkout counters of most supermarkets including Carrefour, Choithrams, Lulu’s, and Spinney’s and generally range in price from Dh2.5 to Dh5.

These bags come in different designs and some stores like Carrefour have even instituted trade-in programmes where they will replace worn out ones for free.

Jute bags

Jute bags are one of the most durable options and are also naturally biodegradable.

These sustainable bags are slightly more expensive than reusable plastic ones but are much more environmentally friendly.

Jute bags are available for as little as Dh10 at Carrefour.

High end options can cost up to Dh50 at other retailers.

Canvas tote bags

Canvas is another durable option similar to jute.

They may not be as environment friendly because these bags require more resources to produce and distribute but they can be reused many times.

Canvas totes are often adorned with stylish or colorful designs and cost around Dh40.

Jute bags are naturally biodegradable. Getty Images
Jute bags are naturally biodegradable. Getty Images

Key ring tote bags

These bags are known for their ability to fold down and be stored in an attached carrying pouch about the size of an egg, which can then be stuffed in a pocket or attached to a key ring or backpack.

They are portable and can be cleaned in a washing machine.

Paper bags

While these bags generate waste, paper can be recycled so it is a preferable alternative in a cinch if you forget your reusable bag at home.

Paper bags are currently available at several supermarket chains including Choithrams and some Zoom locations.

Personal shopping trolley bags

These foldable bags on wheels are perfect for those walking home from the supermarket - or even those with a long trek back to the car through an expansive car park.

While previously relegated to the domain of “granny chic,” these carts are back in vogue, and can be purchased for Dh40-Dh100.

Mesh bags/reusable plastic produce bags

The plastic bags used for produce can easily be replaced with mesh bags or reusable plastic ones for fruits and veggies.

Get a set of 12 on Amazon for Dh40.

Cotton reusable mesh bags can be used for fruits and vegetables. Getty Images
Cotton reusable mesh bags can be used for fruits and vegetables. Getty Images

Reuse single-use plastic bags

Even disposable plastic bags can be reused a couple of times.

Instead of immediately throwing them away, try stashing them under your sink for future use as an impromptu lunch sack, pet waste pick up bag and more.

Updated: March 10, 2020 03:56 PM

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