Virgin Mobile UAE unveils new biodegradable SIM cards
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Virgin Mobile UAE unveils new biodegradable SIM cards

Virgin Mobile UAE unveils new biodegradable SIM cards

It is the first mobile operator in the UAE to introduce eco-friendly SIMs


Virgin Mobile UAE, part of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), has launched new biodegradable SIM cards, the first telecom brand in the country to introduce eco-friendly SIMs.

The move is in line with the UAE’s vision to create a vibrant new green economy that will offer the world a unique model for sustainable development, a statement said.

The biodegradable SIM is made of oxo-biodegradable plastic that degrades slowly in the presence of oxygen and UV radiation, breaking down into small fragments. When disposed of in a landfill, the process of decomposition can take as little as four to six months. This offers a significant improvement compared to the estimated hundreds of years normal plastics can take to decompose, the statement added.

Rob Beswick, managing director for Virgin Mobile UAE, commented, “Our move to introducing the new sustainable, biodegradable SIM cards is aligned with supporting the vision of UAE’s Green Agenda 2030 and UAE’s NetZero 2050 initiative. We can ‘do more and better with less’, breaking the traditional linkages between economic growth and environmental degradation. This is outlined in the UN’s 12th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG12), which calls for us to ensure sustainable consumption and production (SCP). We all need to work together to ensure a collective effort towards building a better future. Virgin Mobile UAE has achieved net-zero carbon emissions for its operations last year, and we are on a mission to become carbon negative.”

It is estimated that at least 14 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year, impacting fragile ecosystems. Despite its tiny size, each SIM card needs to be punched out of a credit-card sized plastic sheet, which is then disposed of, contributing to plastic waste in the telecommunications industry. With consumers demand for SIM cards, this waste is increasing.

“While we are moving towards the use of biodegradable SIM cards that decompose without a trace and it is a key step in the right direction, the move to eSIMs, whereby there is no physical sim card, remains the most sustainable option,” added Beswick.

Currently, Virgin Mobile UAE allows its customers to change their physical SIM to an eSIM using their app right from the comfort of their home or office.

Last year, Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa pledged to eliminate its operational carbon footprint and remove single use plastic from SIM and recharge cards by the end of 2021.

Read: Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa to eliminate single-use plastics in SIMs and recharge cards

The company committed to become fully carbon neutral across its own operations through a series of initiatives designed to eliminate and balance carbon emissions across its corporate and customer footprint.

To achieve its goal, it partnered with Dubai Carbon Center of Excellence and reviewed its carbon usage practices across the business.

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