What you need to know about Dubai's single-use plastic ban: Fines and exemptions
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What you need to know about Dubai’s ban on single-use plastic: Fines and exemptions

What you need to know about Dubai’s ban on single-use plastic: Fines and exemptions

The aim of the plastic ban is to mitigate plastic waste and instigate a shift towards recycling practices

Gulf Business
Plastic ban

In a bid to tackle environmental concerns and promote sustainability, Dubai Municipality unveiled plans for a comprehensive ban on various types of single-use products, to be implemented in three distinct phases.

Plastic ban

This move follows the issuance of a single-use plastic ban in January, driven by a resolution from Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai’s Executive Council.

The primary aim is to mitigate plastic waste and instigate a shift towards recycling practices, thereby safeguarding the environment and fostering a culture of sustainability within both businesses and the community.

Awareness and guidance

Dubai Municipality, under its #DubaiMoreSustainable campaign, initially launched an awareness guide for the initiative during COP28.

This guide has now been bolstered with additional information and frequently asked questions (FAQs), aimed at facilitating compliance with the new regulations.

Phased implementation

According to the updated awareness guide, the ban will roll out in three stages:

June 1, 2024: A total prohibition on single-use plastic bags, alongside the discontinuation of the existing levy of 25 fils on such bags.

January 1, 2025: Bans will extend to include plastic stirrers, Styrofoam food containers, plastic table covers, plastic cotton swabs, plastic straws, and single-use Styrofoam cups.

January 1, 2026: The final phase will see the prohibition of single-use plastic cups and lids, single-use plastic cutlery, plastic food containers, and plastic plates.

Community engagement

With these measures, Dubai Municipality aims to encourage responsible consumer behavior and prompt businesses to adopt eco-friendly alternatives.

By fostering greater awareness and offering clear guidelines, authorities hope to ensure smooth adherence to the new regulations.

The Dubai Municipality has issued a guide in English and Arabic explaining the ban.

Does the ban include all single-use bags? (Paper? Recycled paper? Recycled plastic?)

Yes, starting from June 1, 2024, the comprehensive ban on single-use bags will include all types of bags that are 57 micrometres thick and less. The ban is for bags that are 57 micrometres thick and less such as:

  • Plastic bags.
  • Paper bags.
  • Bags made from biodegradable plant materials.
  • Biodegradable bags.

What is the problem with biodegradable bags?

Biodegradable bags require their own recycling process since they do not totally decompose, as they leave micoplastics behind that could potentially enter the human food-chain.

What bags are exempt from the ban policy?

  • Bread bags.
  • Trash bin liners.
  • Wrapping bags for vegetables, meats, fish, and chicken.
  • Bags that are 58 micrometres thick Laundry bags.
  • Electronic device bags.
  • Various garbage bags.
  • Grain bags.

Will the 25-fils fee on single-use bags continue to be applied?

Yes, it will continue until June 1, 2024, which is the date when all types of single-use bags will be banned.

Can paper bags be used as a free alternative?

The fee applies to all single-use bags for transporting goods, including paper bags thinner than 57 micrometres, until June 1, 2024. Stores are not obligated to provide free alternatives. The goal is to encourage behaviour change for environmental conservation.

Is the single-use bag fee mandatory for stores, or is it optional?

The fee is mandatory in all stores that use single-use bags for transporting goods and the 25 fils tarrif is applicable until June 2024.

Is the single-use bag fee charged even if the consumer brings their own bags?

No, the single-use bag fee is not charged if the consumer brings their own bags.

Who benefits from the revenue of the single-use bag fee?

The revenues go to the private sector, and it is recommended that they be allocated to support sustainable initiatives either through the company or through local environmental and community associations.

Does the 25-fils fee include Value Added Tax (VAT)?

Yes, the invoice value of a single-use bag is 23.81 fils, and 25 fils with VAT.

What are the penalty/fine policies?

Fines will be imposed for non-compliance with the policy of regulating the use of single-use products in Dubai, as follows: A financial penalty of Dhs200.

The penalty amount doubles in case of a repeated offense within one year from the date of the previous offense, not exceeding Dhs2000.

Read: Single-use plastic ban in Abu Dhabi begins: Everything you need to know

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