Concerned by the prospect of plastic pollution accumulating in the deserts and the sea, the United Arab Emirates has brought forward its policy to ban all disposable plastic products except those made from oxo-biodegradable plastic.
Decree 77/5, which bans plastic bags and other plastic products has been moved forward from next year to this year.
The ban covers not just plastic bags, but all packaging and disposable articles made from plastic polymers derived from fossil-fuels. These include flexible shopping bags and semi-rigid plastic packaging for food, magazines, consumer-durables, garbage bags, bin-liners for household use, shrink wrap, pallet wrap and cling film - among other items.
From now on, all plastic products will need an ECAS Registration Certificate issued by ESMA (Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Metrology).
However, these will be issued only for products made from oxo-bio plastic. These products must be made with pro-degradant additive from suppliers which have been audited by ESMA and they have to comply with UAE Standard 5009 of 2009.
ESMA said that it intends to inspect plastic bags and other plastic products at port-of-entry and impound consignments without an ECAS Registration Certificate.
The authority is also planning to conduct factory inspections to ensure full compliance of products being manufactured within the UAE.
Hertfordshire, UK based oxo-biodegradable plastic specialist, Symphony Environmental explained that the ban presents the company with a huge opportunity to supply a market estimated at 500,000 tonnes, and where it is an authorised supplier.
According to the company, with its controlled lifespan and its ability to biodegrade completely either on land or water, oxo-biodegradable plastic has proved popular across the Middle East and particularly in the UAE.
Symphony said that it is also making its d2detector available in the UAE - a portable device which can tell instantly whether a plastic product is oxo-biodegradable.
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