The plastic bag is beginning to lose its convenient charm among shoppers. These Bags are increasingly aware that it harms the environment, as a range of alternatives is emerging. The Emirates produces up to 8,000 tonnes of plastic film – the material in bags and wrapping – every month. Another is a new generation of plastic that degrades in the presence of oxygen.
Jute bags are the most popular with environmentally conscious shoppers. Ten large supermarkets, including the co-operative societies in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, as well as T Choithram & Sons, Lulu Hypermarkets, HyperPanda, and Aswaaq have adopted them.
The company has also seen interest across the Middle East and has signed deals in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Tunisia. Conventional plastic is light, durable and strong, which means it is convenient to use.
Degradable bags made from mixtures of regular plastic and wheat or corn starch have been around for years. The process needs the presence of oxygen, with sunlight and mechanical stress acting as catalysts.
Habiba al Marashi, founder and chairwoman of the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), said there was a place for both products. “There is no unique way, there are and can be several approaches,” she said. “More than one alternative to conventional plastic bags should be available for consumers at the supermarkets,” she said.