The Ministry of Municipality has approved a draft decision controlling the use of plastic bags in the country. 

Prime Minister and Minister of Interior HE Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani chaired a Cabinet meeting at the Amiri Diwan on 25 May 2022, approving the draft decision of the Ministry of Municipality controlling the use of plastic bags in the country. The ban will come into effect on 15 November 2022.

The preparation of the draft resolution comes within the framework of the strategic objectives of preserving the environment and optimal investment in waste recycling.

Among the provisions included in the draft resolution are the following:

• Institutions, companies and shopping centres are prohibited from using single-use plastic bags in packaging, presenting, circulating, carrying or transporting products and merchandise of all kinds.

• Replacing single-use plastic bags with multi-use plastic bags, biodegradable plastic bags, paper or “woven” bags, and other biodegradable materials.

A single-use, plastic carryout bag means any bag less than 2.25 millimetre thick and made predominately of plastic derived from petroleum or bio-based sources, such as corn or other plant source, and includes compostable, non-compostable, and biodegradable plastic bags.

According to, five trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide annually. It can take up to 1,000 years for a bag to disintegrate completely. By switching to reusable shopping bags, we can eliminate that waste– which amounts to about 307 bags per person. In addition, when plastics end up in landfills, they break down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the soil and waterways, and enter the food chain when animals accidentally ingest them.

Eco-friendly shopping practices

In recent years, many hypermarkets across Qatar have taken steps to introduce eco-friendly and sustainable shopping practices, as well as initiatives to encourage shoppers to adopt green and environmentally friendly lifestyles. 

Many retail outlets have introduced various measures to reduce plastic use, such as issuing reusable bags or using paper carrier bags to reduce single-use plastic products.

In 2019, the Ministry of Municipality and Carrefour Qatar introduced a no plastic bag campaign called ‘No Plastic Tuesday’ on the third Tuesday of each month, in all Carrefour stores. Carrefour Qatar did not provide any single-use plastic bags at checkouts on that day. Customers received a reusable bag for free and 10 extra MyCLUB points on each transaction. Customers were encouraged to bring their own reusable bags as well. Under the campaign, Carrefour aimed to familiarise the public with the best ways to use eco-friendly bags and the benefits behind using them, and eliminate single-use plastic bags from cash counters. 

Apart from championing various eco-friendly initiatives throughout the year, Carrefour is also investing heavily in several areas designed to reduce its environmental impact. For example, green checkout counters called ‘Connecting with Nature Counter’ have been implemented in stores nationwide. The counters are dedicated for reusable bag users.

To help protect the environment, the Ministry of Municipality has been campaigning against the use of plastic bags and has urged retailers to start using biodegradable, compostable and reusable bags. Biodegradable and compostable bags are an environment-friendly alternative to plastic bags. Biodegradable are often still plastic bags that have microorganisms added to break down the plastic, while compostable bags are made of natural plant starch, and do not produce any toxic material. Compostable bags break down readily in a composting system through microbial activity to form compost.

Mega Mart is leading the use of biodegradable bags, providing customers with bags at checkout that say ‘This bag is 100% bio’.

LuLu Hypermarket has introduced paper bags, joining some other major outlets across the country, including Monoprix, Carrefour and IKEA, which adopt environmentally sustainable practices. LuLu has also printed a message on each of its paper bags, made from 100% recycled paper, saying ‘Good for the planet, Good for us’ aimed at creating public awareness on the importance of using safer alternatives. 

Besides shifting to biodegradable plastics, Lulu also has affordable reusable bags, which can be used multiple times. If damaged, LuLu will replace the bag with a new one since it has a lifetime warranty to encourage shoppers to make a habit of always bringing their reusable bags with them.

LuLu is also the first in the region to allow customers to borrow shopping bags in an effort to cut down on plastic waste. The ‘Borrow A Bag’ initiative allows shoppers, who have forgotten a shopping bag or purchased more than expected, to borrow a bag rather than purchase one.

Lulu will be introducing the ‘refill’ option in some selected categories soon. Lulu wants to offer a range of options to its shoppers to help them reduce plastic waste rather than imposing any one solution to its customers.

In 2019, Al Meera Consumer Goods Company launched an innovative recycling initiative in some of their branches. Al Meera has placed branded recycling machines for plastic and aluminium products. Customers can drop a plastic bottle or an aluminium can into the recycling machine and in return, earn Meera Rewards points, which can be used later at any Al Meera branch. To receive the rewards, customers need to register with the Meera Rewards loyalty programme, which was launched in 2018 where customers can earn and redeem points. Meera Rewards members will also be able to accumulate additional loyalty points for their recycling contributions across Al Meera branches. Al Meera’s recycling machine initiative aims to encourage the public to recycle.

Author: Ola Diab

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