Eco-friendlyNewsPaper-based packagingRecyclingSustainabilityUAE

Aster Pharmacy Ditches Plastic for Recyclable Paper Bags

Over the last three years, Aster Pharmacy has transitioned to zero-plastic as part of its parent company Aster DM Healthcare’s green initiatives launched in 2020. Aster Pharmacy was one of the first pharmacy retail chains in the UAE to undertake this step to reduce plastic pollution.

Dubai’s landmark move to ban the use of single-use plastic bags and products from the beginning of this year is aimed at reducing the adverse impact of plastic waste on the environment and aligns with the global push for sustainable business practices which safeguards nature.

The leading retail chain in the GCC with over 230 stores, Aster Pharmacy has over the last five years aligned with the UAE government’s efforts to reduce plastic pollution by introducing eco-friendly stores with interiors built using sustainable and recyclable materials. Plastic bags have also been completely replaced by recyclable paper bags with over 7 million paper bags being used annually to serve customers.

Dr. Azad Moopen, Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare, says, “Our commitment to sustainability is deeply embedded in our corporate culture and driven by our ESG framework. As an organisation we have integrated 10 UN SDGs into our core operations which have had a significant impact on sustainability and the environment over the last five years. In FY2023 alone, the company achieved a substantial reduction of 6,824 tCO2e in net emissions through the judicious consumption of renewable energy. We are also actively participating in sustainable practices in the GCC countries in energy efficiency, waste disposal, and use of reusable alternatives. Over the past five years, we’ve gradually replaced plastic bags across the entire Aster Pharmacy retail chain and plan to intensify these efforts going forward.”

The company’s achievements for the year 2023 are promising. 76,555 kgs of plastic waste, 4,46,977 kgs of paper waste, and 5,506 kgs of e-waste have been recycled. Aster’s waste management includes various categories such as biomedical, cardboard, food, metals, paper, and plastic, with waste segregation prioritized at the source to enable efficient recycling.

N. S. Balasubramanian, CEO, Aster Retail, comments, “At Aster, our efforts are always directed towards adoption of innovative measures that can not only preserve the health of our patients and customers but also enhance the environment in which they live. The complete transition to paper bags and integrating sustainable materials into our interiors are all part of our efforts to ensure that we provide a sustainable environment that supports the health and wellbeing of our esteemed customers, in line with our mission to deliver good health and wellbeing in every neighbourhood that we operate.”

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