How the UAE’s Battle Against Single-Use Plastic Is Shaping Up
A wide array of businesses throughout the United Arab Emirates are pushing for a change in our way of life when it comes to our horrid addiction to plastic products. In the Emirates’ battle against single-use plastics, it seems that the tide is beginning to turn.
A number of restaurants, hotels, and supermarkets are looking for ways to reduce their negative impacts on the environment, as more consumers are becoming aware of how their habits are adversely affecting the planet and the climate.
Today, more consumers are calling for a ban on single-use plastics and replacing them with sustainable alternatives. In the UAE, particularly, the majority of consumers are actively protesting for this change.
Now more companies, such as Avani, an eco-friendly products manufacturer based in Dubai, are headed towards creating biodegradable plastic goods and packaging, in addition to other green products such as cornstarch coffee cups and straws, wooden cutlery, and bags made from the root vegetable Cassava.
Many businesses such as Virgin Megastores, Deliveroo, and Spinneys Dubai depend on Avani for more eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic.
“They lооk, feel and perform like plastic but are made from Cassava rооt and natural resins,” said Peter Avram, managing director of Avani, in an interview with The National about his company’s products. The 46-year-old entrepreneur also pointed out that some plastic bags take hundreds of years to decompose, however, his products made of this carbohydrate-based alternative is 100% compostable.
Since the 1950s, we have plagued our world with 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic, while last year a UN report showed that our inability to carry on without plastic costs us 1.1 million animals and sea birds every year. These heart-sickening statistics should be a wake-up call to all of us. Luckily, businesses around the UAE are taking major steps to becoming more environmentally friendly.
For instance, in 2018, Waitrose in Abu Dhabi started charging shoppers AED 0.05 per plastic bag. Afterward, plastic bag-use was reduced by 74%. More and more supermarkets soon followed this policy.
When it comes to the hospitality business, global chains such as the Hilton group are also taking action. This week, a spokesperson of the Hilton stated that they successfully eliminated plastic straws and bottles from their 25 branches across the seven emirates.
“We are driven by our belief that this is simply the right thing to be doing,” said William Costley, Hilton’s vice president of the Arabian Peninsula region.
The Radisson Hotel Group is also not idling on the issue, replacing plastic straws with paper and pasta ones. Meanwhile, in Saadiyat Island, luxury hotel Jumeirah banned single-use plastic as well. Guests are handed reusable water bottles at check-in to reduce plastic use. Furthermore, the hotel has a number of water filtration units to avoid buying water in plastic containers.