UAE: Shoppers carry goods by hand, buy ‘green’ bags as single-use plastic ban rolls out

Published on January 8, 2024

Shoppers in Dubai and Sharjah were left surprised after discovering some supermarkets had stopped the sale of single-use plastic bags.

“When I paid for the products I purchased at a supermarket in Sharjah City Centre, I was left with no choice but to carry the products to the car without the bag,” said Ahmed Abid, a Sudanese expat residing in Al Nahda, Sharjah.

In January 2023, the UAE declared a comprehensive prohibition on the use of single-use plastic items, including shopping bags, set to be enforced starting January 1, 2024.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council issued the resolution on Sunday announcing a ban on single-use plastic bags and products in the emirate from January 1, 2024. The ban applies to single-use disposable products and recycled ones, including both plastics and non-plastic items, regardless of their material composition.

Shoppers were taken aback as they entered supermarkets to find a lack of single-use plastic bags, a common item in shopping routines, which was charged Dh0.25 last year.

Abid had been to the supermarket to get quick essentials as he was expecting guests at home for dinner. “I had been to the supermarket to buy some juices and pastries. But the lady at the billing counter mentioned that the plastic bags has been banned with effect from January 1.”

Similarly, Muhamed Nael, a Jordanian expat had been to Carrefour to shop for his daily essentials. Without knowledge of the ban, he purchased his monthly groceries, “But I did not have any bags to carry the purchased items. The cheaper bags at the counter were no more on sale and I had to purchase a reusable bag for Dh2.50,” said Nael.

“I will be keeping these bags in my car and whenever I go shopping, I will use them,” added Nael.

Krishna Kondattam, an Indian expat, working at an MNC in Dubai was shopping at a gift center and was surprised to find that stores were no longer offering single-use plastic carrier bags. “I always carry bags while shopping. This was the first time in the last 9 months that I entered a supermarket without the reusable bags,” said Kondattam.

“I had to walk up to my car to get the bags and then take the purchased items with it. It’s really a great initiative and people will now learn to carry their own bags.”


Stores at petrol stations across Dubai have put up a notice that plastic bags will not be sold and stocks will be removed from the counter. “An alternative bag will be provided as per directives from the authorities,” read the notice at one of the petrol stations.

Some petrol stations had also displayed news from Khaleej Times regarding the ban on single-use plastics. Attendants at Zoom in Oud Metha said that they were giving away over 200 bags on a daily basis, and for now people are carrying the items directly to their car. “We are waiting for instructions from the management about the alternatives,” said the attendant.

Source: SM Ayaz Zakir, Khaleej Times