Wednesday 9 January 2019

Going Green in Dubai and recycling

Dubai is getting a little greener when it comes to recycling, but the onus is 100% on the individual and without much encouragement I'm afraid all waste is dumped as general waste.

I do my best to reduce the amount of packaging I use when shopping and we have a handy little shop within a 2 min walk from our house that is manageable even in the height of summer when it's 45c to walk to.

It's a battle though to walk out the shop like this, vegetables in hand. They try to put them in individual bags when weighing and then into one bag at the till. I really have to fight them every time on this.

This also cuts down on me needing to use my car and for when more shopping is needed I can ride my bike to the local supermarket 10 mins away, although I doubt I'll be doing that in the middle of summer.

I bought food nets from Lakeland, use a canvas bag for my shopping and buy larger vegetables frozen, as they retain the nutrients and cuts down on waste, expense and packaging than if I were to buy a whole cauliflower, broccoli and beans. 
I still have to battle the staff not to scan and bag. If they calmed down on assuming we are all in a rush and didn't ask us for our store card as we're loading the conveyor belt and gave customers a bit more time to get their reusable bags out, I'm sure more would be done to cut down on waste. 

There are recycling bins at the larger supermarket, but often full to over flowing and the malls all have small recycling centres for consumable waste when you're out and about.

Carrefour now offer lanes for service if you're reusing bags, but I suspect as most people in Dubai don't really care too much they'll probably just purchase a new recycling bag each visit as they can skip the longer queues. 

Spinneys (mainly Waitrose products) offer a plastic bag recycling service where customers can drop excess bags or collect a used one. I use this when I've purchased meat, unless I have a spare canvas bag I can use.

There is still a lot the supermarkets and shops could do to reduce waste. The till receipts are not made from recyclable paper and are often only printed on one side. With receipts having to be printed in both English and Arabic, a simple coffee in a ceramic mug from Costa is twice the length of my phone.

I keep my 3 reusable cups by the front door to grab when we go out to reduce the amount of waste we use with disposable mugs.
But why do the coffee shops give you a disposable mug automatically, even though you've said you want to drink in?

The new houses on our street have these new bins outside, I've not seen these before and will be making inquiries, our landlords (a building company) don't offer this service and I suspect it's an additional paid for service.


  1. I've not seen a box for sharing surplus plastic bags before. What a great idea. So easy for my list to grow, in a good way, while shopping and find I haven't bought enough bags. #GoingGreen

    1. i only use the free resued bags if I've bought fresh meat

  2. Fair play for blazing a trail in Dubai for living plasticfree (or at least with less plastic), very interesting indeed

  3. The fact that many people do one large weekly shop is one reason so much food is wasted so I love that you can walk to the shops and only buy what you need (without plastic bags) on a daily basis. Luckily in France cashiers are not used to handing out bags at all and many make very positive comments about my reusable produce bags. #GoingGreen

    1. I have to fight the cashiers here not to automatically scan and pack in plastic

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