Supermarket giant Waitrose is to start charging for plastic bags in Abu Dhabi stores in a bid to drive down consumption of the material.
From June 16, customers will face a charge of 25fils for single use plastic bags at five trial stores in the capital.
The participating stores are Waitrose Etihad Towers, Waitrose Sun and Sky Reem Island, Waitrose Al Zeina, Waitrose Saadiyat Beach Community and Waitrose Eastern Mangroves.
The scheme, which is being run in partnership with Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF will run for 12 weeks until September 8.
Funds raised from the scheme will help reduce plastics across the huge business and support local charities.
After the trial, bosses will judge the impact it has made and will look at introducing it across the rest of the nine stores in the UAE.
Commenting on the initiative, Matthew Frost, CEO of Fine Fare Food Market said: “The challenge around plastic is underway and we want to be the supermarket leading that charge for the retail industry, fostering positive change and helping to create a more sustainable future for generations to come.
“The carrier bag charge and our brand new in-store plastic bag exchange are just two ways we are supporting our customers in reducing their disposable plastic usage and we hope that side by side, in partnership with EWS-WW, we can truly help the community redefine its relationship with avoidable plastics.
“All store staff, from myself right through to our fantastic, hard-working checkout operators will be 100 per cent behind our plastic bag pledge and rest assured this is only the start.”
Abdulla Al Nuiami, Director of Business Development & Marketing at Emirates Wildlife Society commented: “We are delighted to join hands with Waitrose on this key initiative.
"Through our new partnership, we will raise awareness within the community, encourage more sustainable choices and engage directly with families, guiding them on how small actions can add up to make a big difference.
“The UAE is a coastal country relying on healthy natural ecosystems. The wellbeing of our environment is important to ensure a thriving economy and in securing our food, water, transport and energy needs.
“Waitrose’s commitment to building a deeper understanding of how shoppers and retailers can be more sustainable, in order to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in nature, is encouraging.
“We hope this is the start of many more projects that will stem the tide of plastic pollution across land and sea."