Costa's the last straw project Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: Dubai Airports (DXB) on Monday announced that it will ban single-use plastics from its consumer spaces with effect from January 1, 2020.

That may seem like a tall order, but as some businesses operating in the world’s busiest airport let on, the process of achieving it has already begun.

Eugene Barry, Executive Vice-President, Commercial at Dubai Airports, said, “At an airport that hosts some 90 million people per year, we believe we can make a tangible difference by eliminating single-use plastics in consumer spaces. Today we are making a commitment to work with all of our concession and hospitality partners to achieve that goal.”

Dubai Airports to ban single-use plastics Dubai Airports

Towards this end, Dubai Airports joined hands with 106 businesses operating at DXB on World Environment Day last week to showcase the positive impact of eliminating plastics.

The various operators detailed just how they are going about the mission in a special video released by DXB.

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Costa’s upcyled globe made out of 60,000 straws at DXB aims at highlighting the importance accorded to the environment by Dubai Airports and the UAE

Shemaine Jones, head of marketing, Emirates Leisure Retail, Costa Coffee, said, “We’re going to stop the use of plastic straws and we will replace that with a more environmentally friendly option. What we’ve also decided to do to launch this initiative is to partner with Dubai Airports and Mariska Nell who is an award-winning sculpturist and we have created an upcyled globe made out of 60,000 straws that we are not going to be using anymore.”

The idea, she said, is to send out a message to the world about how important the environment is to Dubai Airports and the UAE.

Kumar Ananthan Ramasegaram, Vice-President, Finance at Dubai Duty Free, said DDF would be offering eco-friendly guest bags which are durable, reusable and nominally priced.

Similarly, Adam Page, head of business development at Travelex, said, “Travelex has launched an electronic receipt initiative as part of which we’re trying to remove our use of paper in our stores. At the moment, we are running at a 24 per cent rate, which is approximately 3kg of paper we are saving per day. We are targeting up to 50 per cent and 6kg internally at the airport.”

Even car rental services are doing their bit. As Avis Rent a Car, Avis UAE, marked World Environment Day, James Luxbacher, General Manager, said, “For every rental that takes place at one of our locations at Dubai Airports, we’re going to plant a tree on behalf of our customers. We’re calling the initiative Plant for the Planet.”

What are single-use plastics?

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Dubai Duty Free giving out a reusable bag to a customer

Also called disposable plastics, single-use plastics are intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. Among other things, they include plastic grocery bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, cups, cutlery and containers.

EEG welcomes move

Welcoming the move by Dubai Airports to ban single-use plastics, Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson, Emirates Environmental Group, said, “Prevention is always better than cure. We as a human species are already unable to manage the current plastic waste generation, therefore taking a proactive approach and avoiding its usage altogether is a very welcome approach. Dubai Airports is leading the way in fundamentally rethinking the way we manufacture, use and manage plastic. This step will force suppliers to rethink their manufacturing strategies.”