Abu Dhabi, 18 September 2018: Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi’s largest mall, has collected over 20,000 plastic bags, exchanging them with eco-friendly shopping bags, as part of their 4-day Rethink Plastic campaign with Emirates Nature-WWF and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), which aims to reduce unnecessary plastic waste.
The Rethink Plastic campaign was launched to increase awareness of the devastating effects of plastic pollution, as, each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic enter oceans, causing the death of over 100,000 marine animals and 1 million marine birds.
Yas Mall aims to reduce visitor’s reliance on disposable bags, that are used on average for 13 minutes but have a disastrous impact on the environment when discarded. Although it takes a small action, Yas Mall has offered free complimentary enviro-friendly canvas to shoppers who make a video pledge to reduce plastic waste, and by symbolically giving up their plastic bags to show their commitment. Also, by refusing single-use plastic bags at store tills each day this can make an enormous difference to the safety of the UAE’s wildlife and the beauty of the natural world. Therefore,whenever it comes to shopping, Yas Mall encourages its visitors, that whichever bag they choose, always remember to re-use.
To continue ongoing usage of the enviro-friendly bags, Yas Mall will run random “spot the bag and win” promotions which will offer shoppers a chance to instantly win a AED 250 bio-degradable Yas Mall Gift Card – simply for re-using their canvas bag on their next shopping trip.
Most plastic bags are made up of polyethylene, which is non-biodegradable. Therefore, Bee’ah, Yas Mall’s waste management partner for the Rethink Plastic campaign, makes it a priority to collect and recycle these plastic bags. The collected bags are taken to the company’s specialized Material Recovery Facility at Al Saj’ah in Sharjah; which recycles an average of 37.50 million plastic bags every month. This state-of-the-art facility has advanced technology like optical sorters, which use sensors and air jets to separate the bags from mixed waste streams, based on their density. The separated bags are processed and baled, before being supplied to local and international companies. The bags are then processed further into plastic pellets, that can be used to make new bags, toys, bottles and numerous other products.
Commenting Shatha Al Romaithy, Director of Marketing at Yas Mall, said: “We believe it is our responsibility to educate our mall visitors on the importance of recycling and with the collection of over 20,00 plastic bags, we are hoping to start to change mindsets and daily habits, and to help protect our environment. We would like to thank our partners Emirates Nature-WWF and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi for their participation and support during this campaign.”
Another successful part of this campaign was the announcement of Yas Mall’s sponsorship of two turtles, as part of a research project with Emirates Nature-WWF. The project aims to track the journey of multiple marine turtles around the Gulf, as the sea creatures act as an indicator of the health of our marine environment, helping researchers with the goal of deciphering their migration paths, therefore conserving endangered marine turtles and critical marine habitats in the UAE and wider region. During the event, Yas Mall invited customers to make a pledge to be more green, and as a prize one lucky winner was given the chance to name one of these turtles.
Abdulla Al Nuiami, Director of Business Development & Marketing at Emirates Nature-WWF explained, “Over 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. Marine litter has long been a problem and threatens the lives of many species including whales, turtles, seabirds and fish so it is encouraging to see the great support this initiative received from the local community. The good news is that if we all make small changes to our daily habits, like shopping with a re-usable bag, we can help prevent plastic pollution.”