UAE: Foam Products Ban Takes Effect Today in Abu Dhabi

asmaa - | Arab News

The Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi announced that the ban on single-use "foam" products has come into effect as of today, Saturday.

Ban on Single-Use Foam Products

This decision has been communicated to over 50,000 commercial establishments and 80 industrial facilities involved in plastic manufacturing as part of the continued implementation of the single-use plastics policy in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which previously began with the ban on single-use plastic bags.

Prohibited foam products

The agency detailed that the list of prohibited items includes cups, lids, and plates made from "expanded polystyrene" (Styrofoam). Additionally, it encompasses food containers used for packing fast food or ready-to-eat meals that are typically consumed directly from the container without requiring additional processing like cooking or heating.

Exemptions from the ban

Certain "expanded polystyrene" products not intended for single-use are excluded from the ban. These include large storage boxes and trays used for preserving meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and ready-made dairy products meant for retail sale. Products designed for medical purposes are also exempt from the ban.

Dr. Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi, remarked, "Today marks the enforcement of the ban on some Styrofoam products in Abu Dhabi, following the successful ban on single-use plastic bags. We anticipate full compliance and cooperation across the emirate from both government and private sector entities. Through collective efforts, we aim to achieve optimal results, with community participation playing a crucial role in ensuring the success of this ban."

Dr. Al Dhaheri further explained, "Our long-term objective is to reduce the entry of microplastics into the food chain, which poses risks to human health, biodiversity, and natural ecosystems." She emphasized that the authority carefully selected the banned Styrofoam products to facilitate business continuity and consumer convenience, noting that all banned items have readily available alternatives.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development supports the agency's efforts to cultivate a perfect setting for businesses to thrive in while also preserving the environment. Retailers and manufacturing sites are being reminded by the government to follow the ban on single-use plastics. With its help, the prohibition on Styrofoam has spread to 80 plastics production plants and over 50,000 general stores.

The department is set to conduct field inspections at sales outlets and industrial establishments to ensure the ban's thorough implementation across Abu Dhabi according to a specific schedule. This step is crucial to maintaining the policy's effectiveness and compliance throughout the emirate.

With the help of retailers, the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency (EA) banned single-use plastic bags in 2022 and implemented a policy for single-use plastics in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2020. The continuous effort demonstrates the emirate's dedication to minimizing plastic waste and fostering environmental sustainability.

Since implementing the single-use plastic materials policy, the agency has successfully avoided the consumption of 310 million single-use plastic bags by the end of April 2024. The reduction in plastic bags distributed at payment counters in retail outlets reached 95%. This policy has prevented over 2,000 tons of single-use plastic bag waste. Additionally, more than 1,000 tons of plastic bottles were collected in 2023, equivalent to 67 million bottles, marking significant progress in Abu Dhabi's recycling and waste reduction efforts.

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