Sharjah announced on Monday that the municipality has discontinued manufacturing single-use plastic bags. As a result, all manufacturers must halt production.

This decision follows the ban on single-use plastic bags and materials across the emirate from January 1, 2024. Retailers were told to stop trading, producing, offering and importing single-use plastic bags and materials under the ban.

The ban aims to protect the environment by mitigating plastic pollution and encouraging sustainability and a culture of environmental protection. However, the below-listed products are exempted from this directive.

1. Single-use plastic bags, including:

2. Single-use plastic bags intended for export or re-export outside the UAE, provided that a clear indication is placed to demonstrate the purpose of production for export or re-export. The trading of these products in the domestic markets is prohibited.

3. Single-use bags and products made from recyclable materials within the UAE, as determined in coordination with the relevant authorities.

4. Other products and materials specified and exempted by the competent authority in coordination with the ministry.

The authorities strongly recommend the following reusable bags due to their lower environmental impact and recyclability.

  • Bags made from Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE): Can be reused 4-10 times.
  • Bags made from Non-Woven Polypropylene (PP): Can be reused 6-52 times.
  • Woven Polypropylene (PP) bags: Reusable up to 5-45 times.
  • Cotton bags: Reusable up to 50-150 times.
  • Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bags: Designed for multiple uses.
  • Polyester bags: Multi-purpose, lightweight, and foldable.
  • Biopolymer or PLA (Polylactic Acid) bags: Capable of biodegrading in controlled air environments under specific temperature and humidity conditions.
  • Composite bags: plastic handles affixed to a jute bag.

Methods of distinguishing reusable bags:

The following information must be printed on the bag for consumers to identify reusable bags

— Type of material used in making the bag.

— Statement indicating that the bag is reusable, along with the number of times the bag can be reused.

— Statement indicating that the bag is washable.

— Statement indicating that the bag is free from toxic substances.

— If the bag is made from recyclable material, it must be indicated on the bag.

Criteria for multi-use bags:

- Bags must have a non-stretchable handle securely affixed to maintain the bag's durability and strength standards.

- Bag capacity should not be less than 15 litres.

- Compliance with standards set by local authorities and entities in the UAE.

Specifications for manufacturing multi-use bags

Including UAE Standard Specification No. (UAE.S5054:2023) for the technical requirements of multi-use plastic bags:

— Must be washable in automatic washing machines or made from cleanable or sterilisable material.

— Must be free from toxic substances: reusable bags must be free from inks, dyes, adhesives, or any other additives that include lead, mercury, or any toxic substances. They must not contain incidental concentrations of toxic substances. These restrictions also apply to any components, coatings, or labels.

— Compliance with approved technical requirements and standard specifications applicable in the UAE.

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