Dubai Airports readies for ban on single-use plastics
Change is coming to the world of air travel as the self-imposed deadline looms for a ban on all single-use plastics at the world’s busiest international airport, Dubai International (DXB). Announced by the operator, Dubai Airports, Dubai’s two airports (DXB and DWC) will soon be free of single-use plastics in a bid to manage environmental impact.
Since the pledge was announced in June 2019, Dubai Airports has been working closely with more than 250 of its concession and hospitality partners to fulfil the promise by the beginning of the New Year. With 90 million passengers passing through Dubai’s two airports – DXB and DWC – every year, consuming tens of thousands of plastic items from straws to water bottles to coffee lids daily, the plastic-free initiative has presented some serious challenges for those involved.
Eugene Barry, EVP Commercial at Dubai Airports said, “This pledge is another step on a long journey to becoming a more environmentally responsible airport. Along with our partners, including global brands such as McDonald’s, Costa Coffee and Starbucks, we are committed to not only removing single-use plastics but in their place providing appropriate and importantly sustainable alternatives.”
The phased approach will see plastic cutlery, drinking straws, takeaway food packaging and polythene bags removed from cafés, restaurants and shops at the world’s busiest international airport from January 1, 2020. During the next 12 months, additional products will be replaced both in customer spaces and behind the scenes.
“Among the challenges faced, the biggest is sourcing alternatives for plastic bottles, one of the most frequently used and discarded pieces of single-use plastics. As we work to reduce and ultimately eliminate plastics from our airports, we are increasing our recycling facilities in the customer spaces and a new partnership that will allow us to properly dispose of thousands of tonnes of single-use plastic, each year,” Barry continued.
Moving forward through 2020, significantly more single-use plastic products will be replaced throughout the two airports by concession and hospitality partners.
Notable among them is fast food powerhouse, McDonald’s who will be replacing a total of 5,608,740 items with recyclable materials at Dubai’s two airports DXB and DWC.
Also, Costa Coffee which has committed to replacing its plastic-lined cups with a 100% renewable, plant-based ‘smart’ cup. The coffee giant uses over 2.6 million cups a year in Dubai’s airports alone, so a significant impact will be made. This will be short by the introduction of a coffee cup lid made entirely from wood and paper fibre instead of single-use plastic.