Sustainable Travel: Emirates Recycles Over 500,000 kg of Plastic, Glass in One Year
Dubai-based airline Emirates recently announced that it recycled over 500,000 kilograms of plastic and glass in 2022.
The airline collects discarded bottles onboard for repurposing, a move aimed at reducing waste and promoting sustainable travel. The initiative has diverted thousands of kilograms of glass and plastic from landfills each year.
Emirates’ cabin crew separate glass and plastic bottles onboard every flight that lands in Dubai. The glass is crushed, and the recycled glass, or ‘cullet,’ is sent to glass manufacturers in the UAE to make new bottles. The plastic bottles are cleaned, chopped into flakes, melted into pellets, and sent to manufacturers to make other plastic products.
The recycling initiative onboard Emirates flights was suggested by environmentally conscious cabin crew members in 2019. The idea was well-received and implemented within weeks. The initiative has proven successful over time, and Emirates continues to find ways to promote sustainability in its operations.
Apart from the recycling initiative, Emirates has several other sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing waste and promoting the use of sustainable materials.
For example, for the last six years, Emirates has offered sustainable blankets made from recycled plastic bottles to Economy passengers on long haul flights. The soft and warm blankets are made from 28 recycled plastic bottles each and have prevented over 95 million plastic bottles from going to landfill.
Emirates also prioritizes responsible sourcing, with an environmental requirement in the supplier code of conduct. The airline considers the entire lifecycle of products, from the design stage. Wooden tea and coffee stirrers, paper straws, and inflight retail bags are made using wood and paper from responsibly managed forests.
Emirates’ youngest customers also benefit from the airline’s sustainability initiatives. The complimentary toy bags, baby amenity kits, and plush toys are made from recycled plastic bottles and other sustainable materials. The bags and backpacks are constructed from yarn made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles, saving millions of plastic bottles from landfill.
The airline’s Premium Economy and Economy Class range of amenity kits are also sustainable, featuring designs that represent the four essential elements of nature. The pouches are reusable and made from washable kraft paper, and the contents include a selection of durable travel essentials made from environmentally friendly materials.
Emirates’ commitment to sustainability is commendable, and the recycling initiative is a step in the right direction. With more airlines adopting sustainable practices, the aviation industry can reduce its impact on the environment and promote sustainable travel.