UAE – Aster Pharmacy, part of Aster DM Healthcare Group, is stepping up its efforts to reduce plastic pollution with recyclable paper bags.

The announcement marks an important step forward in Aster DM Healthcare’s dedication to healthcare excellence while championing a cleaner, more sustainable future.

In a press release, Aster Pharmacy said: “Efforts to replace plastic bags with recyclable paper bags is now complete with 7.4 million paper bags being used annually to serve customers.”

Aster Pharmacy is a leading retail chain in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) dispensing a wide variety of pharmaceutical, health, and wellness products.

Aster Pharmacy products can be easily accessed through the myAster Super App, which offers home delivery of prescription and over-the-counter medicines across the United Arab Emirates, within 90 minutes.

With three decades of experience in the retail sector, Aster Pharmacy sees an annual footfall of 8.7 million people across more than 230 stores served by over 700 pharmacists.

The well-established retail chain has taken the lead on the UAE’s zero plastic waste agenda over the last 3 years by incorporating 7.4 million paper bags for its customers.

The retail chain now aims to be at the forefront of the sustainability transition, having already become one of the first pharmacy retail chains in the UAE to undertake zero-plastic efforts.

For his part, Mr. N.S Balasubramanium, Chief Executive Officer of Aster Retail GCC, said: “At Aster, our efforts are always directed towards the adoption of innovative measures that can not only preserve the health of our patients and customers but also enhance the environment in which they live.”

Mr. N.S. Balasubramanium further said that the complete transition to paper bags and the integrating of sustainable materials into interiors are part of ongoing efforts to ensure that the retail chain provides a sustainable environment.

We aim to provide a sustainable environment that supports the health and well-being of our esteemed customers, in line with our mission to deliver good health and well-being in every neighborhood that we operate in,” he added.

Moreover, Aster’s zero-plastic efforts align with the UAE’s Green Agenda 2023 which aims to reduce the country’s emissions to less than 100 kilowatts-hours.

As of 1st January 2024, Dubai has imposed a ban on single-use plastic bags and products in a move to minimize the adverse impact of plastic waste on the environment.

This law banning single-use plastic bags is in perfect harmony with a global push for sustainable business practices that safeguards the nature.

As part of Aster DM Healthcare’s Green Choices initiative in 2020, Aster Pharmacy had undertaken efforts to introduce eco-friendly stores with interiors built with sustainable and recyclable materials.

Aster DM Healthcare achieves major sustainability milestones

It serves as a clear reflection of Aster DM Healthcare’s unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

In his address, Dr. Azad Moopen, Founder and Chairman of Aster DM Healthcare, said: “We are actively participating in sustainable practices in the various GCC countries in energy efficiency, waste disposal, and use of reusable alternatives.”

He reiterated Aster DM Healthcare’s commitment to sustainability, noting that it is deeply embedded in the organization’s corporate culture and driven by its ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) framework.

Laying out his future plans, Dr. Azad Moopen said: “Over the past five years, we have gradually replaced plastic bags in Aster Pharmacies. We plan to intensify these efforts going forward.”

Strikingly, Aster DM Healthcare is a leading integrated healthcare provider, with a strong presence across all six countries in the GCC.

The organization’s waste management practices encompass various categories, including biomedical, plastic, food, metals, paper, and cardboard.

On top of this, Aster prioritizes waste segregation at the source, enabling efficient recycling of recyclable materials.

As an organization, we have integrated 10 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our core operations which have resulted in significant impact on sustainability and environment over the last 5 years,” outlined Dr. Azad Moopen.

Aster DM Healthcare prepares to split into 2 standalone companies

Amidst a transformation, Aster is set to split the India and GCC businesses into two distinct and standalone entities, subject to regulatory and corporate approvals including Aster India’s shareholders’ approval.

Upon completion of the separation of the India and GCC businesses, Aster DM Healthcare FZC will bolster its expansion plans in key markets such as the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Aster DM Healthcare FZC will also benefit from a dedicated investor base that will aid future growth in the Indian and the GCC markets respectively.

As part of this deal, Dr. Azad Moopen will continue in his role as the Founder and Chairman and will oversee both India and GCC businesses.

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