All Single Use Bags Now Banned in Dubai Stores

3 mins

The new ruling, which came into effect June 1st, includes paper and biodegradeable bags

All single use bags – including those which are biodegradable or made of paper – have been banned in Dubai’s retail outlets as part of a campaign towards a more sustainable future.

Stores are no longer allowed to charge 25 fils for single-use bags at checkouts, and are not obliged to offer alternatives.

Businesses caught breaking the rule will be fined AED200, which will be doubled for repeat offences within a year, up to AED2,000.

According to  guidelines issued by Dubai Municipality, the new ban will apply to all single-use bags, including paper, biodegradable and recycled plastic that are 57 micrometres (0.057mm) thick or less. Customers can use bags that are 58 micrometres thick and above, as they are not considered to be single use.

checkout assistant handing over a plastic bag
The ban also applies to biodegradable bags

Exemptions to the new law include packaging for bread, rubbish bin liners and those used for vegetables, meats, fish and chicken, as well as bags used for laundry, electronic devices and grains.

‘As of June 1, 2024, Dubai takes a stand against single-use bags. Make the switch to reusable cloth bags & be part of the change,’ Dubai Muncipality said via X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday.

The ruling came into force at the weekend (June 1st) and will be followed by two further laws promoting a greener agenda for consumers.

These include banning styrofoam containers and cups, plastic stirrers, straws, table covers and cotton swabs on January 1st 2025.

Bag Bans

The new ban comes six months after Dubai phased out single-use plastic bags across retail outlets.

In Abu Dhabi, a similar ban has been in effect since June 2022. During the first year of the ruling, single-use plastic was reduced by around 95 per cent, according to the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD).

 Whale Shark filter feeds in polluted ocean, ingesting plastic

Also on June 1st Abu Dhabi issued a ban on disposable cups, lids and plates made of styrofoam. The list also includes food containers used to pack fast food or ready-to-use meals.

EAD Secretary General Dr Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri said: ‘Our long-term goal is to limit the entry of microplastics into the food chain, which can have harmful effects on human health, biodiversity, and our natural ecosystems.’

To raise awareness of the adverse impact of plastic waste on marine life and ocean health, divers at Dubai Aquarium in Dubai Mall displayed banners to the public promoting the initiative.

They highlighted the impact of plastic waste on ocean life, where single-use plastics kills more than a hundred thousand marine animals a year.

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