With its impressive architecture, fast cars, man-made islands and reliance on air conditioning for human survival, you may have the impression that Dubai is not the most environmentally friendly place.
But actually, the UAE has plans to be the world’s cleanest city by 2050 through increasing its usage of clean energy and significantly reducing its carbon footprint.
There has also been a push for more green vehicles with electric car charging points dotted around the city and Dubai Police getting on board by adding a Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid electric car to its fleet.
And whilst the UAE Government is taking care of the heavy lifting, you can do your part by making changes to your own lifestyle. And I don’t mean by becoming a tree hugging, raw food eating, commune dwelling hippy. Here are five simple ways you can make a big difference, with minimal effort:
Eat less meat
You may not want to give up those juicy burgers but reducing your meat and dairy intake can not only do wonders for your health, but also has a hugely beneficial impact on the environment. It’s been estimated that livestock farming accounts for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the emissions from all transportation combined! You can take small steps towards a more plant-based diet by introducing a meat-free day in your week.
Ditch the plastic bags
It’s such an easy way to reduce your plastic use. If you’re headed to the shops, take a reusable bag with you. Waitrose is currently piloting a charge for plastic bags in its stores in Abu Dhabi, and Spinneys has suggested it may follow suit if the pilot goes well. In the meantime, Spinneys has already rolled out a bag exchange in its Dubai stores, so even if you don’t have a reusable bag to hand, you can pick up a used plastic bag from their exchange point (located near the tills). And don’t forget to drop off your used bags at your next Spinneys shop. Keep it going people!
Cut out the cutlery
With Dubai making it easy to get pretty much anything delivered to your door, it’s unsurprising that many of us are habitual take-away eaters. If you’re eating at home or in the office, make sure you decline straws and plastic cutlery whenever you can. Deliveroo, the popular food delivery service, has already sprung into action by only providing plastic cutlery on an opt-in basis. Thanks to this, they reported a huge reduction in plastic usage from their partner restaurants. Dubai Airports is also on board (pun intended), having pledged to eliminate single-use plastic by January 1st, 2020.
Save coffee cups, save money
Costa is now offering a DHS 2.00 discount on your coffee order when you bring your own reusable coffee cup. If you buy a coffee a day that’s DHS 14 per week saved, or even better; DHS 730 per year! And what about the 365 coffee cups? Thanks to the waterproof lining on the inside of single-use cups, they are difficult to recycle and most often end up in landfill, so by bringing a reusable cup, you will have not only lightened the load on your pocket but also on the planet.
Recycle, recycle, recycle
It’s an obvious one, but there seems to be a common misconception that recycling doesn’t happen in the UAE. This is not the case, and you can find a number of recycling stations installed by Dubai Municipality around Dubai. If you live in a villa, you should have access to a green bin through the My City, My Environment initiative. However, the key to recycling effectively is to make sure you are recycling the correct materials in the correct way. If not, your waste will go to waste! Have a look at the Sustainability Tribewebsite for more information about recycling and greener living in the UAE.
Want more inspiration?
Join Plastic Free UAEFacebook page for more ideas and tips on leading a sustainable lifestyle.