Supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners has introduced a 25 fils plastic bag charge across all its stores in the UAE as part of its sustainability programme, it announced on Wednesday.
The new policy, which began on October 1, aims to “inspire its customers to shift to using reusable, sustainable bags” for shopping, a statement said.
All proceeds from the sale of plastic bags will be donated to the non-profit conservation organisation Emirates Nature-WFF.
Waitrose & Partners UAE also has a line of reusable bags that can be purchased starting at Dhs3.5, both in store and online.
Sunil Kumar, CEO of Fine Fare Foods – which runs Waitrose & Partners UAE, said: “This new charge is part of a gradual phase-out in line with the policies being introduced by the government across the UAE – and one that we are committed to following.
“We are dedicated to reducing our impact on the environment, and while we know there is still a lot of work to be done, the removal of single use carrier bags is a major step in the right direction. So far, we’ve received really positive feedback from our customers.”
The supermarket chain has also committed to making its own-brand packaging reusable, widely recyclable or home compostable by 2023 and has pledged to remove 20 per cent of plastic from its own-brand ranges by the end of 2021.
It also plans to ensure its branded plastic packaging contains at least 30 per cent recycled content and phase out non-recyclable plastic from all packaging by 2021.
Several retailers have announced initiatives to phase out the use of single-use plastic.
Last year, UAE retail conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim announced that it will eliminate single-use plastic from its operations by 2025. The decision will apply to all its units including Vox cinemas and more than 285 Carrefour stores across the Middle East, Africa and Asia region.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah also announced a full phase-out of disposable plastic bags in all retail outlets by 2021.
According to the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, approximately one billion plastic bags are used in the country every year – an average of 1,184 a person, which compares with a global figure of 307 per person.