Virgin Mobile UAE introduces biodegradable SIM cards

Virgin Mobile UAE
Virgin Mobile UAE
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
22 February 2022

Virgin Mobile UAE has introduced new biodegradable SIM cards – the first telecom brand in the UAE to do so.

The new Virgin Mobile biodegradable SIM cards are the most sustainable option for customers whose devices cannot yet accept eSIMs, which require no plastic at all. Virgin Mobile UAE is on a mission to phase-out single-use plastic SIM cards as part of its commitment to being sustainable and working towards becoming 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 landfill, the process can take as little as four to six months – a huge improvement on the estimated hundreds of years normal plastics 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 which calls for us ‘to ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production’. 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.”

An estimated 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year, damaging fragile ecosystems. Despite their tiny size, SIM cards need to be punched out of a credit card sized plastic sheet, which is then disposed of – this is why Virgin Mobile UAE is making the switch to biodegradable materials to reduce the impact on the planet.

“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 customers can switch their physical SIM to an eSIM using the app from the comfort of their own home. eSIMs are also available via Virgin Mobile’s unique home delivery service where new customers with a compatible device can have their Virgin Mobile eSIM activated via the Virgin Mobile app, choosing an available number or transferring their existing one from any network. 

Visit Virgin Mobile UAE to find out more.