UAE bans plastic products in 15 categories, unless they are oxo-biodegradable

The United Arab Emirates is rapidly emerging as one of the most developed countries in Western Asia, partly due to its substantial oil reserves, ranked at 6th place in the world.

In parallel with its reforming political and economic policies, the country has started to show a greater concern for its environment, particularly the effects of littered plastic on animals at land and sea.

The UAE is a large consumer of plastic packaging: in 2008 at least two billion plastic bags were manufactured and according to ministry statistics, around 8,000 tonnes of plastic film is being produced every month.

Of the 2 billion bags made in 2008, only 2,000 tonnes of plastic bags were made using biodegradable technology.

In August 2010, the country’s Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) made the decision that all plastic bags should be made biodegradable by the year 2013. Dr Mariam AL Shinasi, Executive Director of Technical Affairs at the MOEW said that “the decision is expected to significantly protect the country’s environment and public health and existence of animals as normal plastic bags pose serious danger to them.”

The responsibility of verifying the technology used to make plastic oxo-biodegradable is attributed to the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology [ESMAI. established in 2001 to provide standardisation and regulation in a variety of areas including the electrical, mechanical and chemical fields. ESME has approved Symphony’s d2w additive for use, as compliant with the UAE Standard 5009-2009 (Standard and Specification for Oxo-biodegradation of Plastic bags and other disposable Plastic Objects).

Introducing oxo-biodegradable technology to the country and particularly the plastic bag industry has enabled Symphony to strengthen its position in this region and raise awareness of its products.

From 2014 onwards, the circulation and marketing of fifteen categories of mostly short life products are banned in the country unless they are of oxo-biodegradable. These products includes newspaper and magazine wrap, bubble wrap and cushioning packaging, flower wrap, overwrap, stretch film, cling film, shrink film and plastic liner as well as personal care products including gloves, seedling bags and polyethylene table sheets. The ban also covers biodegradable plastic products which are not registered in accordance with the Emirates Conformity Assessment System (ECAS). Symphony d2w technology meets with all the requirements of ECAS.

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