New Resolution Curbs Single-use Products in Dubai

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, has issued a new resolution to regulate single-use products in Dubai, effective from 1 January, 2024.

Executive Council Resolution No. (124) of 2023 applies to single-use disposable products and recycled ones, including both plastics and non-plastic items. The main aim of the resolution is to protect the environment, encourage people to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle, and encourage the use of reusable products to advance sustainable development.

The move also aims to motivate the private sector to promote the use of recycled products, aligning with circular economy practices that foster sustainable recycling of products in local markets. The resolution also seeks to regulate the use and recycling of single-use products.

All types of plastic and non-plastic throwaway products, including food wrappers and packaging, thick plastic bags, plastic containers, and packaging materials such as those used for balloons, plastic bottles, snack bags, and wet wipes fall within the new resolution’s ambit. The regulations extend to sellers as well as consumers within the emirate of Dubai, covering free zones and private development zones such as the 110-acre Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA).

The resolution has entrusted the Dubai Municipality and relevant entities with several responsibilities related to the reduction in the use of plastic and other single-use products including organizing awareness campaigns for community members, encouraging sellers to actively support programmes and initiatives towards the cause, while also promoting the availability of alternative resources to reduce environmental impact.

The resolution will implement the ban in a phased manner, starting with plastic bags from 1 January, 2024, and non-plastic products such as single-use bags from 1 June, 2024. From 1 January, 2025, the prohibition will be extended to disposable plastic products including cups, plastic cotton buds, stirrers and straws, Styrofoam food containers, and table covers. Other single-use plastic products including beverage and food containers and lids, plates, and tableware will be banned from 1 January, 2026.

The resolution however clearly identifies a list of products that have been excluded from the ban, including thin bag rolls that are used to keep food items fresh and trash bags. Exemptions also extend to products that are to be exported and re-exported, including single-use shopping bags and disposable plastic items, provided they are clearly labelled. Additionally, the resolution prohibits the trading of these products in local markets.

The resolution requires all related authorities and entities as well as consumers to collaborate on developing and implementing mechanisms and practices aimed at reducing the production and consumption of single-use products, and to adopt initiatives that foster increased reliance on reusable products. It also mandates all sellers to actively participate in programmes and initiatives targeting the reduction of single-use products and offer specified reusable alternatives at affordable prices.

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