Header Ads


Emirates launches closed loop recycling initiative to tackle plastic waste

Aviation Updates Philippines – Aiming to lead the aviation industry towards a more sustainable future, Emirates has unveiled a new closed-loop recycling initiative. Under the scheme, millions of onboard items, including plastic trays, bowls, and dishes, will be locally recycled and repurposed into fresh meal service products.

Photo by Emirates

Coinciding with the United Nations World Environment Day on 5 June and adopting the theme of #BeatPlasticPollution, Emirates is committed to the initiative commencing in June 2023.

This project aligns with the airline's dedication to responsible consumption and reflects a transition to the principles of a circular economy where items are reduced, reused, and recycled. The process involves the collection of used meal items from the Economy and Premium Economy Class cabins after flights. These items are then washed, checked for damage, and transported to a facility in Dubai. There, they are ground down, reprocessed, and manufactured into new dishes, bowls, and trays before being sent to Emirates Flight Catering for reuse in in-flight meals.

Emirates is working in partnership with deSter FZE UAE, a leading provider of serviceware concepts to the aviation industry and a pioneer in closed-loop manufacturing. Emirates will be reusing plastic materials that have reached their end of life and would otherwise have been discarded. The new dishes, bowls, and trays containing at least 25% reused material (recyclate), will be reintroduced on aircraft globally, with plans to increase this percentage over time.

The deSter team, members of the CE100 network which includes global leaders in the circular economy, boasts a ‘Gold’ Sustainability rating from Ecovadis, a globally recognized certification for sustainable practices. The partnership enables Emirates to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by avoiding shipping products to another country for recycling. The deSter factory is designed to operate sustainably, focusing on solar power, efficient water use, and waste minimization.

Emirates has a longstanding commitment to reducing plastic waste and has undertaken various initiatives in addition to the new closed-loop recycling project:

  • Over 150 million single-use plastic items have been diverted from landfill annually through the replacement of plastic straws, inflight retail bags, and stirrers with responsibly sourced paper and wooden alternatives.
  • Each onboard blanket for Economy and Premium Economy Class passengers is manufactured from 28 recycled plastic bottles. This initiative saves 88 million plastic bottles from landfill annually.
  • Emirates’ inflight toy bags, baby amenity kits, and plush toys are made from recycled plastic bottles, repurposing over 8 million bottles in a year.
  • The hygiene covers for bowls on Emirates meal trays and plastic tumblers are made from 80% recycled plastic (rPET).
  • Emirates Economy and Premium Economy amenity kits are crafted from alternative materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, and recycled plastic, decreasing the usage of new plastic.
  • The Emirates Cabin Crew segregates glass and plastic bottles for recycling in Dubai, diverting approximately 500,000 kilograms of plastic and glass from landfill in 2022.

The launch of Emirates' new closed-loop recycling initiative marks another step in the airline's ongoing efforts to address environmental issues associated with air travel. This initiative, combined with its other plastic waste reduction measures, highlights the potential for airlines to adopt more sustainable practices. As the impact of plastic pollution and other environmental concerns continues to gain global attention, it remains to be seen how these developments will influence wider industry practices and policies in the coming years.

No comments

The comments made below are the views of the commenter only. We reserve the right to remove comments that are offensive, harmful, or do not follow our community guidelines.