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American University of Sharjah to ban single-use plastics from 2020

Educational institution says it is the UAE's first university to ban single-use plastics, adding move is in line with UAE's green goals

American University of Sharjah bans single-use plastics.
American University of Sharjah (AUS)
American University of Sharjah bans single-use plastics.

American University of Sharjah (AUS) has become the UAE’s first university to ban single-use plastics, with vendors on campus prohibited from selling plastic containers holding less than 50cm of water starting January 2020.

According to the university, single-use plastic bags and eating utensils, including takeaway containers, straws, plates, cups, and cutlery, will be banned and replaced with eco-friendly and biodegradable alternatives. The sale of juice and soda drinks will be permitted in aluminium containers.

The initiative, which is aimed at eliminating single-use plastic and Styrofoam waste, will see the university distributing free, double-wall insulated stainless steel drinking bottles to staff, students, and faculty free of charge at the water stations on campus.

Working with the AUS Student Council, the AUS Sustainability Office will also provide free long-life coffee mugs.

Commenting on the ban, director of AUS Sustainability Office, Rose Armour, said: “Per capita, the UAE has some of the highest rates of waste generation in the world.

"A typical UAE resident uses 450 plastic water bottles on an average in a single year. With around 77% of all waste ending up in a landfill, there is an enormous amount of plastic entering landfill sites, impacting the environment for thousands of years to come.

"At the same time, we understand how important it is in an arid environment for our staff, students and faculty to consume lots of water. We have therefore developed a strategy that ensures our community stays well-hydrated, but with minimal impact on the environment.”

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