The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (“EAD”) has recently announced that it is preparing a draft policy on single-use plastic, which is due to be implemented in 2020. The EAD’s aim is to significantly reduce the use of single use plastic by 2021.
It is reported that the policy will include an implementation plan and the required instruments and incentives to be implemented by 2021. Businesses will be granted a one-year grace period to phase out single-use plastic items and replace them with sustainable reusable products. The policy will target items such as plastic bags, bottles, and cutlery. At this stage it is unclear how significant the penalties will be for companies who do not comply with the proposed draft policy.
Earlier this year, the Dubai airports have imposed a ban on single use plastic items such as plastic knives, forks, straws and shopping bags from consumer spaces. Retail and real estate conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim has also announced they will start phasing out single-use plastics and aim to eliminate them altogether across its operations by 2025.
It is clear that there is a considerable shift in attitude towards single use plastic in the UAE and we anticipate further changes in laws and regulations in this area in the near future. It is therefore recommended that companies in the retail and consumer sectors remain focused on staying up to date with the new regulatory and legal developments.