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Published August 28, 2023 | Version 1
Journal article Open

Advancing SDGs: Assessing the Impact of Abu Dhabi's Single-Use Plastic Policy on Consumer Behaviour and Adoption

  • 1. Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, School of Health & Environmental Studies, Dubai, UAE.

Description

In response to the significant environmental repercussions of plastic consumption, particularly single-use plastics, many countries have taken measures to reduce their reliance on plastic materials. Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for instance, introduced a single-use plastic policy in 2022, accompanied by a fee of AED 0.25, aimed at promoting environmentally conscious behaviours and curbing plastic waste. This study explores the impact of this policy on consumer behaviour and adoption, drawing insights from a literature review spanning eight nations. The review underscores the roles of consumer awareness, governmental regulations, fees, media influence, and social pressures in shaping behaviours related to single-use plastics.
The research aims to assess how the policy has influenced consumer actions and adherence. The methodology encompasses two main components: qualitative observations conducted at three supermarkets with varying price ranges, situated in distinct socio-economic contexts, to assess customer choices between single-use plastic and reusable bags; and the administration of a closed-ended questionnaire to gauge consumer acceptance and implementation of the policy. Results reveal that in lower-priced supermarkets, predominantly frequented by individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds, there is a decline in single-use plastic bag usage, accompanied by a rise in the adoption of reusable bags. Conversely, consumers in higher and medium-priced supermarkets tend to lean towards utilizing plastic bags. The survey, which received 105 responses, delves into the policy's acceptance and integration. Most participants, primarily females aged 18 to 24, possessing undergraduate degrees, and reporting monthly household incomes ranging between AED 5 and 15k, express support for the policy. They view it as a personal responsibility to safeguard the environment and indicate shifts in their shopping behaviours. Drawing on the research findings, it is strongly advised that the EAD takes proactive measures to align with the UAE commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and advancing sustainability efforts.

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