UAE – The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has enforced a ban on specific Styrofoam products starting 1 June 2024.

The ban is part of the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy, which aims to reduce the country’s reliance on single-use products.

The newly prohibited products include cups, lids, plates, and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and food container vessels for products intended for immediate consumption.

The ban excludes products not intended for single-consumer use, such as large storage boxes, coolers, and trays for meat, fruit, dairy, and other food items. 

It also exempts all products meant for medical usage. 

EAD Secretary General Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri said: “Today, the Abu Dhabi ban on some Styrofoam products came into effect. Inspired by the success of the ban on single-use plastic bags, we expect to see emirate-wide compliance and collaboration from our stakeholders in the government and private sector, as we know that by working together, we will witness the best results.

“Our greater goal is to reduce harmful microplastics from entering the food chain, which can harm human health, biodiversity, and our natural ecosystems. We want the future generations to inherit a bountiful environment filled with all types of species so that they can live in proximity to nature as part of a fruitful lifestyle.”

Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) facilitates this transition by educating more than 50,000 domestic commercial entities and 80 industrial facilities. 

The ADDED will also conduct subsequent inspections to ensure adherence to the policy.

The Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy was introduced by the EAD in 2020, followed by a ban on single-use plastic bags in 2022.

Early in the year, the UAE announced a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags from 1 January 2024 to drive circularity.

According to an announcement by the state-run WAM news agency, the law would prohibit the import, production, and circulation of such bags from Jan. 1, 2024.

According to the Khaleej Times, the country will also implement a similar ban on plastic cups, plates, and cutlery from Jan. 1, 2026,

The ban would include spoons, chopsticks, straws, forks, knives, and stirrers but exclude thin bag rolls used for food items.

In addition, the ban will not cover products intended to be exported or re-exported or bags made from recycled materials in the country.

The rule is intended to encourage stakeholders to work together to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic.

This will involve adopting initiatives to help consumers switch to multi-use products and ensuring that alternatives are readily available at shopping centers and retail stores.

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