By 2022, Emirates has recycled over 500,000kg of plastic and glass by collecting discarded bottles onboard for reuse. 500,000kg is almost the weight of a fully loaded Emirates A380.
On every flight that lands in Dubai, Emirates cabin crew work hard to quickly separate glass and plastic bottles before sending them to Dubai’s recycling plants. The glass is separated by color and crushed.
This ‘cullet’ or recycled glass, ready to be remelted, is then sent to glassmakers in the UAE to be included in their batch mixes for new bottles. Plastic bottles are cleaned, sliced, melted into pellets and sent to manufacturers to make other plastic products. As a result, Emirates and Emirates Catering divert thousands of kilograms of glass and plastic from landfill every year.
Environmentally conscious Emirates cabin crew, who introduced the onboard glass and plastic recycling scheme in 2019, were given a platform to share feedback and encouraged to share innovative ideas with key sectors as part of regular webinars and events. The proposal was well received and implemented within weeks.
Emirates has several other initiatives that focus on reusing plastic or using sustainable materials where possible:
UAE blanket made from recycled plastic
For the past 6 years, Emirates has provided economy class passengers on long-haul flights with cozy eco-friendly blankets made from recycled plastic bottles. Soft and warm blanket made from 28 recycled plastic bottles. The bottles are shredded into plastic pieces before being turned into yarn, creating a fleece material.
The thin threads are then woven into a soft blanket. In the six years since the initiative launched, Emirates blankets have prevented more than 95 million plastic bottles from going to landfill. As the airline industry’s largest in-flight sustainable blanket initiative, the manufacturing process using recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) also reduces energy emissions by approximately 70%.
Prioritize responsible sourcing
Responsible consumption is a key environmental area of focus for Emirates, which has incorporated environmental requirements into its supplier code of conduct and considers the entire life cycle of products from the design stage. For example, wooden tea and coffee stirrers, paper straws and in-flight retail bags are all made from wood and paper from responsibly managed forests.
Emirates children’s toys are made from sustainably sourced materials
For Emirates’ youngest customers, the airline’s free toy bags, baby toiletry kits and soft toys are also made from recycled plastic bottles and other sustainable materials. Fanny packs, duffle bags and backpacks are designed for a certain age group and made with yarn made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
Each UAE kids backpack is made from 5.5 recycled plastic bottles and each duffel bag is made from 7 plastic bottles. The production of Emirates Kidbags has saved 8 million plastic bottles from landfill. The hang tags are made from recycled card, and even the casing the product ships in is made from recycled card that can be recycled again.
Emirates reusable inflight travel kit
Offered free to passengers on long-haul flights, Emirates’ premium economy and economy range amenity kits are designed to represent the four fundamental elements of nature – fire, water, earth and air. These pouches are reusable, made from washable kraft paper, and printed with custom art in non-toxic soy ink.
Contents include a range of durable travel essentials made from eco-friendly materials. Toothbrushes are made from straw and plastic, and socks and eye masks are made from recycled plastic, in this case rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate). Packaging for dental kits, socks and eye masks is made of 90% rice paper. – trade arab news agency