Sharjah to ban single-use plastic bags and materials from 2024

Sharjah will ban single-use plastic bags and materials from January 1, 2024, to help promote more eco-friendly reusable alternatives and combat environmental pollution.

Ahead of the move, all sales outlets in the emirate will charge customers a minimum of 25 fils per single-use bag from October to disincentivise plastic consumption and encourage recycling.

To clamp down on plastic use, Sharjah’s executive council is encouraging all stores to focus on reusable products, such as high-density polyethylene, tote and canvas bags.

The rule aims to encourage the use of sustainable materials and raise awareness about the consequences of disposable plastics. It comes amid other eco-conscious initiatives adopted in the country.

On June 1, Abu Dhabi became the first city in the GCC to ban single-use plastic bags.

In May, retailers across Abu Dhabi, including Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society, Carrefour, LuLu Hypermarket, Choitrams, Spinneys and Waitrose, embraced the initiative and signed agreements with the Environment Agency to endorse the emirate’s Single-Use Plastic Policy.

In response, locally owned supermarket chain Spinneys adopted several eco-policies, such as offering a range of life-long tote bags manufactured from 100 per cent sustainable materials in keeping with its ‘Let’s Close the Loop’ campaign. The chain also cut 25 fils for customers who shop with their own bags.

Last month, Dubai imposed a green-conscious policy, mandating a tariff of 25 fils for each plastic bag sold.

Single-use plastic accounts for 36 per cent of the world’s annual plastic production of 400 million tonnes, said Dr Al Dhaheri, citing reports from the World Government Summit 2019.

Today, the UAE uses 11 billion plastic bags, with shoppers annually using 1,182 bags each year, exceeding the global average of 307.

By 2050, the UAE seeks to decarbonise its economy by eliminating the production of greenhouse gases.

Eighty-three per cent of consumers in the UAE are conscious of their environmental footprint and the impact of their shopping habits on the planet. Four in 10 residents aspire to make more sustainable choices for the rest of 2022, according to a survey by Censuswide.