UAE announces blanket ban on single-use plastic items from 2026
In another landmark move aimed at reducing pollution in the oil-rich nation, the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced a nationwide ban on single-use plastic shopping bags to take effect next year. A ministerial resolution will prohibit the import, production, and circulation of single-use bags from January 1, 2024, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported Tuesday.
The ban will serve as the prelude to imposing a blanket ban on the import, production, and trade of single-use plastic products, including plastic cups, plates, cutlery, food containers, and boxes made of foam (styrofoam), from January 1, 2026.
The resolution, however, excludes certain products from the nationwide ban, including thin bag rolls used to keep food items fresh and bags made out of recycled materials in the UAE. Products intended for export or re-export have also been exempted, provided they are clearly labelled.
At the local level, at least four emirates have already launched initiatives banning or regulating the use of plastic. In Abu Dhabi, a ban on single-use plastic bags went into effect on June 1, while in Dubai, as of July 1, retailers have been charging 25 fils per bag. The Executive Council of the Emirate of Sharjah issued a decision banning single-use plastic bags and materials as of January 1, 2024, while Umm Al Quwain’s ban on single-use plastics went into effect this January.
The Emirates has been meticulously preparing for COP28 since it received the green light to host the climate summit at COP26 in Glasgow, UK, in 2021. It aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, although the target currently seems difficult to assess. At the same time, the nation is also going big on renewable energy investment and food security, while expanding hydrocarbon production.