The Abu Dhabi single-use plastics ban: A quick guide

The initiative is being driven by The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

The ban on single-use plastics in Abu Dhabi is coming into force on Wednesday 1 June 2022.

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) initiative is part of the UAE’s vision to enhance sustainable living in the emirate which will see measures introduced to reduce demand for 16 single-use plastic products that include cups, stirrers, lids and cutlery.

And The EAD has now outlined products are covered by the Single-Use Plastic Policy to support sustainability efforts across Abu Dhabi.

Here are all your questions answered on the Abu Dhabi single-use plastic ban.


When does the Abu Dhabi single-use plastic ban begin?


The ban will be enforced from Wednesday 1 June 2022.


Will all plastics be banned under Abu Dhabi’s single-use plastic ban?


No. Currently, only single-use plastic bags will be banned. Other plastics will still be in use for the foreseeable future.


What kind of plastic bags will be banned under Abu Dhabi’s single-use plastic ban?


Single-use plastic grocery shopping bags. However, thin bags that are used for meats and vegetables will be exempt from the ban.


What about rubbish bags and bin liners or pharmacy bags?


Currently these bags have not been included in the Abu Dhabi’s single-use plastic ban.


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So, what bags can I use when grocery shopping in Abu Dhabi?


Reusable bags that have the least environmental impact will be offered from the retailer, regardless what material they are made of. And of course, you will also be able to use your own reusable bags brought from home.


Do I have to pay for the alternative bag?


Currently, there are no environmental fees or charges on alternative bags under the Abu Dhabi single-use plastic ban. The EAD is however, encouraging all shoppers to bring their own bags to avoid purchasing any more bags.


Are bags the only plastic to be banned?


No. The EAD will also push to phase out single-use Styrofoam cups, plates and food containers by 2024.


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Since the launch of the policy in March 2020, EAD has coordinated extensively with its strategic partners concerned with implementing the policy, especially plastics producers and retailers, to ensure effective implementation, as new technical standards for multi-use bags have been set.

In support of this drive, a large-scale awareness campaign will be carried out across the emirate to educate the public on the new procedures, helping to activate the ban on single-use plastic bags from June.

Speaking on the announcement of the ban at the start of April, Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD, said: “By launching and implementing the integrated single-use plastic policy, EAD seeks to continue the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed, whose deep passion for preserving the environment inspires us in our sustainability journey.

“We are extremely eager to continue on our path of reducing the consumption of single-use plastics in Abu Dhabi.

“As part of our plan to completely curb the use of single-use plastics, we are encouraging Abu Dhabi citizens to use more multipurpose and re-usable materials to reduce their environmental footprint.

“Today, we are introducing a ban on single-use plastic bags in the capital in light of their harmful impacts on the environment and biodiversity.”



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Matt Cassidy

When he is not hunting for the latest piece of Abu Dhabi news, Matt is ticking off his UAE bucket-list experiences (although he does love to take a break to test out the fine restaurants and bars of the capital). An armchair sports lover, he is on a personal mission to attend every sporting event in the UAE to make out for most likely missing the big one in Doha in November.