UAE – The Executive Council of Dubai has implemented a tariff of 25 fils (US$0.06) for each single-use plastic bag, as part of the UAE’s plan to gradually ban the use of some single-use plastic products by 2024.

According to Dubai Municipality, the tariff in Dubai is mandatory for all shops, including groceries, retail stores, restaurants, pharmacies, e-commerce services and delivery services, which provide single-use bags (measuring less than 57 micrometers in thickness) to carry goods.

All stores must levy the charge for each single-use bag, and a different tariff can be applied to reusable alternatives if provided by the store.

Stores are not obliged to provide free alternatives, as the goal is to push a change in consumer behavior to protect the environment, the municipality said.

The charge is the first step towards a complete ban on single-use plastic bags in Dubai in two years. Retailers will get four months to roll out the charge.

There will be no limit on the number of bags sold to customers at the checkout counters but staff will be trained to rationalize the use of carrier bags when packing and delivering purchases, officials said.

Dubai recommends that private sector retailers donate the money to support sustainable initiatives, either through the company or local environmental and community associations.

“It should be noted that alternatives often have a larger environmental footprint than plastic bags but are easier to manage at the disposal stage and cause less environmental and health damage, provided they are used properly,” the municipality said in a release.

“For example, the production of paper bags is also harmful to the environment and leads to the cutting of a large number of trees and consumes great resources and energy, and therefore its use also requires paying the imposed fees.”

The statement also states that single-use plastic bags have a lower environmental footprint than paper bags in the manufacturing stage, but their damages lie in the disposal stage.

To support the policy,  retail giant Majid Al Futtaim Carrefour announced last year that it would stop providing single-use plastic bags at the checkout counters of two of its Dubai branches — Carrefour Hypermarket at Cityland Mall and Carrefour Market at Arabian Ranches 1.

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