Emirates is the latest local company to ditch single-use plastic

Emirates, Dubai Airport, runway closed

Over the last 12 months, a growing number of Dubai-based companies have been getting drastic with the plastic and Emirates has now joined that eco-enlightened alliance.

The airline has a full ban on plastic straws in the pipeline and as of 1st June, Emirates began phasing in environmentally-friendly paper straws.

It’s not just the straws that are being replaced on EK flights either – there’ll be green alternatives for synthetic swizzle sticks and stirrers by the end of the year. By August, plastic bags used for in-flight shopping will be swapped with paper bags.

These initiatives alone will remove an estimated 82 million plastic items from landfill each year. That’s about 27 pieces of plastic for every resident of Dubai. While it’s not the end of the the problem, it is a solid step in the right direction.

Flagship UAE brand Emirates has been tackling single-use plastic dependency for a while now. Back in 2017, it introduced ecoTHREAD™ blankets made from recycled plastic bottles for its Economy Class cabin. It takes 28 bottles to make each blanket, and since their introduction, it’s led to 88 million plastic bottles avoiding landfill.

This welcome news follows a move by Dubai Airports to ban all single-use plastic earlier this month.

And at a grassroots level, ‘plactivism’ campaigns are spreading across the country.

Sainath Manikandan and Sai Sahana Manikandan are locally-based junior eco-ambassadors that have championed various green drives.

The pair are currently urging fellow students and young adults to take www.dropityouth.org pledges. It’s a series of commitments to reducing the use of plastic that contributes to pollution, pioneered in the region by another young UAE activist, Julia Grifferty.

These are commitments they say we should all be striving towards.

  • Refusing single-use plastic bottles – carrying and using refillable bottles
  • Say no to plastic cups – opt for outlets that supply or promote reusable cups
  • Refusing plastic straws – use your own metal, bamboo or reusable ones
  • Say no to plastic bags – ensure you own reusable bags made from non-toxic materials
  • Installing a water filter at home, work, school – avoiding communal use of plastic containers.

Here are more ideas on how to strive for a plastic-free life, including more companies cleaning up their environmental act.


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