Sophie Sandham will come across as your regular Dubai expat until you notice her take out a reusable bamboo fork to eat the salad at a café along the Dubai Marina promenade.
We probed further and learn that she is one of the few people in the city who are embracing the ‘No Plastic, Zero Waste’ approach to living. When she moved from London to Dubai, she was subjected to surprise glances on telling the shopkeepers that she won’t need a plastic bag for her groceries.
Simply browsing through her Instagram account will give you a glimpse into her efforts to go the no plastic way.
So, what is the biggest challenge of embracing the sustainable lifestyle in Dubai, we ask?
“The main challenge for me is water bottles since cafes and restaurants in Dubai won’t give you tap water to fill up my reusable bottles. I have read online articles, discussed with health experts on Instagram and realized that Dubai’s tap water is fine for consumption.”
Not many of us might drink directly from the tap but for Sophie, it tastes fine and she has never fallen sick. She has replaced her drinking bottle with reusable bottles and coffee/tea cups with recyclable cups that she carries along with her always.
Getting her grocery fix
Carrying a cloth bag to hypermarkets has become a regular thing for Sophie, much to the surprise of her friends and the people behind the supermarket counters.
“In Dubai, I am beginning to see some supermarkets (like Waitrose, Dubai Marina and Spinneys, Motor City) that allow you to fill up your own bags (of choice) with groceries like rice, lentils, and nuts. There are also many fruit and vegetable aisles to make your pick from and carry in your own bags or containers.”
As a majority of residents are expats and get their food ordered to their house, there is little option to goplastic or waste-free.
Sophie is happy with the awareness and talks about sustainability in Dubai. “I think that there is a lot of discussion on sustainability in Dubai and the UAE in terms of large scale energy usage, mainly with solar projects such as the Shams Project in Abu Dhabi – soon to be the largest solar project in the world and electric vehicles and of course the Sustainable City.”
Although she isn’t living the zero-waste life yet, Sophie is aiming to reduce her waste output slowly. Much to her surprise and persistent efforts, her month-long waste last month could fit into a small bag (half a bag, as she mentions).
This is ONE MONTH’S worth of rubbish, and the bag is only half full ? Thanks to #MindfulLiving and lots of #recycling.. The #zerowaste life dream is a step closer! Thank you @thesustainablecity #Dubai for such great recycling facilities on my doorstep that make it that bit easier ? but it really isn’t a chore once it’s in your routine. Let’s see what next month brings… #ReduceReuseRecycle ? . . . #PlasticFreeDubai #PlasticFree #plastic #PlasticFreeSea #plasticpollutes #SustainableLiving #sustainability #sustainablefood #GreenLiving #sustsainablsdubai #plasticfreevegan #ethicalliving #consciousness #consciousliving #MyDubai #ClimateChange #ClimateChangeIsReal #zerowaste #zerowastedubai #zerowasteliving #Vegandubai #recycling #recycledubai