Dubai supermarket suspends plastic bag charge

Choithrams began charging 25 fils per bag at selected stores but has now put the initiative on hold

The 25 fil fee for single-use plastic bags at Choithrams supermarkets in Dubai has been put on hold.
The 25 fil fee for single-use plastic bags at Choithrams supermarkets in Dubai has been put on hold.

A supermarket chain in Dubai has suspended a trial 25 fils charge for single-use plastic bags.

Customers at Choithrams were told in early July that the company was introducing the fee as part of efforts to reduce plastic waste.

Shoppers appeared to welcome the move, with many hailing the initiative as an encouraging step towards more environmentally friendly business practices.

But late last month the company revealed it had put the scheme “on hold” indefinitely.

No explanation was given for the change, although some customers are said to have complained about the fee.

“The decision to charge for the plastic bags has been put on hold at the moment,” a spokesman for Choithrams told The National.

Shoppers in Dubai have long called on supermarkets in the UAE to follow the lead of other countries and charge a fee for plastic bags, or ban them outright.

In New Zealand, plastic shopping bags are banned completely, while in the UK and Ireland customers are charged a fee.

Last year, Waitrose was the first supermarket in the Emirates to run a trial charge of 25 fils per bag at five of its Abu Dhabi stores.

Carrefour also announced it would reward its shoppers with a free foldable bag if they shopped with their own reusable bag.

Speaking to The National last month, Shaikha Al Hosani, an executive director at the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, said discussions were ongoing with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change regarding a compulsory charge for single-use plastics across the UAE.

A spokesman for Waitrose said its trial run of the fee had led to a reduction in plastic bag use and it was now considering rolling out the initiative across all its Abu Dhabi and Dubai branches.

Choithrams — which has more than 20 stores across the emirate — announced it planned to begin charging for its plastic bags on July 3 this year to coincide with International Plastic Bag Free Day.

The company also said the price of its reusable bags would be reduced from Dh5 to Dh3.

The trial charge was to run for 10 days but was later extended — initially indefinitely — before being scrapped on July 25.

Updated: August 7, 2019 09:51 AM


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