Emirates has made a network-wide commitment to reduce single-use plastics on board its aircraft. As of the start of June, eco-friendly paper straws have been introduced and all Emirates flights will soon be plastic straw-free. As well as 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 in-flight purchases will be replaced with paper bags. The changes will remove an estimated 81.7 million single-use plastic items from landfill annually. Trials have been done on flights to explore recycling on board with airline staff and cabin crew giving feedback and suggestions on other environmentally friendly ideas.
As part of its long-term vision and fuelled by a cabin crew member’s suggestion, Emirates has been segregating large plastic bottles on board to be recycled in Dubai and elsewhere. It diverts about three tonnes or about 150,000 plastic bottles from landfill in Dubai each month.
The initiatives are part of the airline’s ongoing sustainability efforts. In 2017, Emirates introduced ecoTHREAD™ blankets made from recycled plastic bottles in economy class. Each blanket is made from 28 recycled plastic bottles and by year end, Emirates claim they will have saved 88 million plastic bottles from landfill from this initiative alone.
Emirates operates two daily flights from Dublin to Dubai.