Rethink Plastics Campaign
Towards A Circular Economy

Together we can reimagine a world without plastic waste.

Towards A Circular Economy

Plastic may be helpful, but plastic waste is NOT

Plastic has found its way into most parts of our daily life. We use it to store our food, consumer goods and medicines, and to make countless products. But over time we have become too dependent on unnecessary plastic. The average person in the UAE consumes 94 kg of plastic per year – a number that is expected to keep growing.

This is a tremendous problem, because plastic doesn’t just ‘go away.’ It sticks around, taking hundreds of years to degrade. Plastic waste isn’t restricted to our landfills. A huge amount, 8 million metric tons, finds its way into our oceans every year. This has a devastating effect on marine mammals and sea birds who are at risk of ingesting the plastic or getting entangled within abandoned fishing nets. In the gulf region, abandoned fishing traps, or gargoors, have been identified as a risk to local populations of sea turtles and dugongs.

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Time is ripe for change

Microplastic© Sam Hobson / WWF UK

We are only beginning to understand the detrimental effect that plastic waste poses to our oceans, ecosystems, wildlife, food supplies and livelihoods.

Growing evidence suggests that microplastics can enter human and animal food supply chains, polluting our food with organic and inorganic matter. There are also concerns that the growing accumulation of microplastic can negatively affect local fisheries and natural habitats that we rely on for leisure and tourism, such as coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds.

We must act now to prevent further build-up of plastic waste in our oceans and avoid the potential negative impact on marine life, our economy and our health. To do so, we must step away from today’s ‘throw-away’ culture and move towards a more sustainable circular economy.

What is a circular economy?

Our current ‘take-make-dispose’ model assumes that we have access to infinite resources and results in tremendous wastage. In contrast, a circular economy is a regenerative system designed to be sustainable.

In a circular economy, materials are designed to be re-used and maintained within the economy, with the intention to minimize waste and negative impacts on the environment and society at large.

Numerous businesses around the globe have begun to transform their operations in favour of a circular economy. As the movement achieves scale, it has the potential to address some of our most pressing environmental and economic issues.

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Contributing to UAE’s circular economy

Emirates Nature-WWF’s approach is to limit the damage caused by existing plastic waste and to help businesses minimize future waste across their supply chains.

Partner with us on our upcoming initiatives to address plastic waste in the UAE. 

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Knowledge partnerships

  • Private-sector education on reducing supply chain impact
  • Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) surveys to assess impact of abandoned fishing gear

Public and youth engagement

  • Awareness campaigns addressing single-use plastic
  • Innovation award competitions and citizen science initiatives to inspire upcycling of marine litter
  • Clean-up campaigns

Science-based resources and tools 

  • Set up of an Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme
  • Development of material guidelines and Life Cycle Assessments to reduce the footprint of packaging
  • Development of Optimal Packaging Matrix and local end of life guidelines for producers and policymakers

Explore More

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