Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Emirates to reduce single-use plastics on flights

Dubai airline is introducing various long-term sustainability initiatives that will reduce landfill

Emirates has pledged to reduce the amount of single-use plastic made available on their flights. Christopher Pike / Reuters
Emirates has pledged to reduce the amount of single-use plastic made available on their flights. Christopher Pike / Reuters

Emirates Airline has pledged to reduce the amount of single-use plastics on board its aircraft.

The Dubai airline on Monday said it introduced paper straws on some flights this month, with the remaining routes due to be plastic straw-free "soon".

Plastic swizzle sticks and stirrers will also be replaced with eco-friendly alternatives by the end of the year, Emirates said.

From August, plastic bags used for in-flight retail purchases will be replaced with paper bags. These initiatives are expected to remove an estimated 81.7 million single-use items from landfill each year.

Trials of various recycling initiatives on board have been conducted on flights, with staff and cabin crew giving feedback on other environmentally friendly ideas, the airline said.

Emirates has begun segregating large plastic bottles on board to be recycled in Dubai and the rest of the world. This diverts an estimated three tonnes or about 150,000 plastic bottles from landfill in Dubai each month.

A full review of the plastics on flights was conducted and over the next few months, the airline will gradually implement other measures to tackle related waste.

In 2017, Emirates introduced blankets made from recycled plastic bottles for its economy class. Each blanket is made from 28 recycled bottles and by the end of 2019, the airline would have saved 88 million of them from reaching landfill with this initiative alone.

The announcement from Emirates comes a week after Dubai Airports said it would ban all single-use plastics by 2020.

The company, which manages Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport, pledged to ban items such as plastic cutlery, straws and shopping bags from consumer spaces from next year.

In April, Etihad Airways, the UAE's national airline, completed the world’s first ultra-long-haul flight without single-use plastic.

The 14-hour flight between Abu Dhabi and Brisbane, Australia was to mark World Earth Day on April 22. It was the first stage in Etihad’s plan to reduce single-use plastics by 80 per cent by the end of 2022.

Updated: June 17, 2019 01:32 PM

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