Global pledge month Plastic Free July is here and we’re pleased to hear there are companies in the UAE that are going drastic on plastic.
Words by Ipshita Sharma
A huge issue globally, awareness really hit Dubai’s shores when His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, took part in a sea cleaning initiative last year.
Here are the companies who are actually putting their money where their plastic straw was and cleaning up their environmental act.
Meliá Hotels International, which is just about to open its stunning second Dubai hotel in Business Bay, will cut all single-use plastics (the biggest offender!) in all its hotels within the year. Reusable items will replace plastic bottles, cups, bags, straws and coasters, saving more than 15 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
The Hilton chain of hotels is to remove plastic straws completely from its Europe, Middle East & Africa hotels and ban plastic water bottles from meetings and events at hotels in the region, which includes 10 properties in Dubai. The moves are part of Hilton’s 2030 goals to halve the company’s environmental footprint and see five million straws each year gone from Europe, Middle East & Africa hotels alone.
Peruvian restaurant Coya is ditching plastic drinking straws, single use plastic bottles, plastic stirrers and napkins, so we should not longer see those at its Dubai branch in the Four Seasons Resort Jumeirah Beach Road.
Healthy pizza chain Freedom Pizza has called time on sending out straws and cutlery packs with orders. Instead, customers can purchase biodegradable cutlery and honestly, who eats pizza with a knife and fork anyway? Freedom already uses recycled bags and napkins at its eight Dubai stores and is hoping others get on the #StopSucking bandwagon and support the Strawless Ocean movement – The Noodle House has already announced it’s on board.
If you’ve ordered from Zomato recently, as we do, maybe seven or eight times a day…we mean week…then you may have noticed the food ordering app has added a new element to its ordering process: you can now specify if you don’t need any cutlery with your delivery. Help save the world AND cut down on the pile of stray plastic knives in your cutlery drawer.
At the supermarkets, Waitrose started a sustainability initiative of charging 25 fils for single-use plastic bags. The retailer reported a 74 per cent reduction in plastic bag use after a trial run at its five stores in Abu Dhabi, with more than 5,728 people purchasing a reusable bag in-store. The British brand is also about to launch in-store bag exchange, where customers can deposit used bags for other shoppers to use. Fellow UK supermarket Spinneys is already trialling the same in some outlets, including Business Bay. After holding a plastic bag free day, Carrefour now has a dedicated green checkout for eco-bags in its hypermarkets at City Centre Mirdiff, City Centre Me’aisem, City Centre Deira and Mall of the Emirates. More branches are expected to follow suit by the end of 2018.
Looking to the not-so-distant future, UAE-based company Avani Middle East has created biodegradable, compostable, recyclable bags that even dissolve in hot water. The firm is now accepting orders from businesses in the region and has a whole range of eco-friendly products ready to roll, including sugarcane fibre-based cooking utensils, cornstarch straws, paper and cornstarch coffee cups and wooden cutlery.
With business doing their bit, we can contribute personally by refusing single use plastics, using a bag for life, or buying items with less packaging where possible.
With scientists warning that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish and fears that plastic is entering the food chain through marine life we can no longer agree that the invention that revolutionised lives in the 20th century is truly fantastic.