Dubai: Emirates is on a mission to reduce single-use plastics on board its aircraft. Eco-friendly paper straws were introduced on June 1 in a move that will see all Emirates flights plastic straw-free.
The airline has been working on various long-term sustainability initiatives. In addition to plastic straws, plastic swizzle sticks and stirrers will also be replaced with eco-friendly alternatives by the end of the year. From August, plastic bags used for inflight retail purchases will also be replaced with paper bags. These initiatives will remove an estimated 81.7 million single-use plastic items from landfill each year.
Trials have been conducted on Emirates flights to explore various recycling initiatives on board and Emirates staff and cabin crew constantly give feedback and suggestions on other environmentally friendly ideas. As part of its long-term vision and fuelled by a cabin crew member’s suggestion, the airline has been 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 board has been conducted and over the next few months, the airline will gradually implement other initiatives to tackle plastic waste.
The initiatives are part of the airline’s ongoing sustainability efforts. In 2017, Emirates introduced ecoTHREAD™ blankets made from recycled plastic bottles for its Economy Class cabin. Each blanket is made from 28 recycled plastic bottles and by the end of this year, Emirates would have saved 88 million plastic bottles from landfill from this initiative alone.