UAE — Waitrose & Partners UAE will phase out all single-use plastic bags from its stores across the country as the new policy set by The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi to ban single-use plastics at all checkouts comes into effect on 1st June 2022, with Dubai following suit from 1st July 2022.
In alignment with Waitrose & Partners Plastic Plan which aims to reduce the company’s impact on the environment by removing unnecessary plastics, Waitrose UAE will go further than the policy implemented regionally by eliminating single-use entirely, starting with single-use plastic bags followed by the elimination of paper bags in the following months.
In Dubai, the Government has imposed a 25 fils tariff on single-use plastic bags and aims to completely ban the use of these plastics by 2024. To accelerate customers’ adoption of reusable bags, when customers bring one or more bags to shop with at store – regardless of what bag material or brand – Waitrose will discount 25 fils from their total bill. By completely removing the option for customers to use plastic bags, Waitrose believes it can help lead a journey of change, and make waste a thing of the past.
According to the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (EAD), 11 billion plastic bags are consumed annually in the country. This is equivalent to 1,182 plastic bags per person annually – an extremely high rate compared to the global average of 307 bags per person annually.
Sunil Kumar, CEO of Fine Fare Foods which owns and operates Waitrose UAE, said: “This ban is yet another step forward to a sustainable way of living that we are committed to encouraging at Waitrose. Waitrose is continuously innovating to reduce its environmental impact and emissions, and while we know there is still a lot of work to be done, the removal of single-use carrier bags is such an important step forward.”
The retailer also aims to reduce consumption of, and reuse, as many materials as possible. Where this isn’t possible, Waitrose is working to ensure the majority of the waste it creates is recyclable. The team is continually working across its supply chains and own operations to find creative solutions to divert as much waste from landfills as it can.
As part of its Partners Against Waste sustainability programme—Waitrose’s pledge to a waste-free future—the team continues to make significant progress through numerous initiatives. These include designing better packaging and reusable bags options, reducing food waste and investing in its ordering systems.
Waitrose & Partners UAE has a line of reusable bags that can be purchased both in store and online from AED 3.50, and includes a design by local Emirati print designer, Huda Al Nuaimi. Look out for more eco-friendly shopping alternatives coming to Waitrose stores across the UAE soon.