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Virgin Mobile UAE is the first telecom brand in the country to introduce new biodegradable SIM cards.  The move is in line with the UAE’s vision to create a vibrant new green economy that will offer the world a unique model for sustainable development.

The new Virgin Mobile biodegradable sim cards are the most sustainable option available in the UAE for customers whose devices cannot yet accept eSIMs. Virgin Mobile UAE will progressively phase out single-use plastic SIM cards as part of the company’s commitment to being sustainable and towards its mission of being carbon negative.

The new biodegradable SIM is made from an oxo-biodegradable plastic that breaks down into tiny pieces and slowly degrades in the presence of oxygen and UV light. When placed in a landfill, the degradation process can take a little as just 4-6 months. This offers a significant improvement when compared to the estimated hundreds of years normal plastics can take to decompose.

Rob Beswick, managing director for Virgin Mobile UAE commented, “Our move to introducing the new sustainable biodegradable SIM cards is aligned with supporting the vision of UAE’s Green Agenda 2030 and UAE’s NetZero 2050 initiative. We can “do more and better with less”, breaking the traditional linkages between economic growth and environmental degradation. This is outlined in the UN’s 12th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG12) which calls for us “to ensure sustainable consumption and production (SCP). We all need to work together to ensure a collective effort towards building a better future. Virgin Mobile UAE has achieved net-zero carbon emissions for its operations last year, and we are on a mission to become carbon negative.”

Despite its tiny size, each SIM card needs to be punched out of a credit-card sized plastic sheet, which is then disposed of, contributing to plastic waste in the telecommunications industry. With consumers demand for SIM cards, this waste is increasing.

“While we are moving towards the use of biodegradable SIM cards that decompose without a trace and it is a key step in the right direction, the move to eSIMs, whereby there is no physical sim card, remains the most sustainable option,” added Beswick.

Currently, Virgin Mobile UAE allows its customers to change their physical SIM to an eSIM using their app, right from the comfort of their home or office.

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