Dubai Airports will remove plastic cutlery, drinking straws, take-away food packaging and polythene bags from its cafés, restaurants and shops.
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 on a daily basis – the plastic-free initiative presents a huge logistical challenge to the management team and to every business in their supply chain.
The ban will take a phased approach with the aim for completion scheduled by the end of the 2020.
Pressure is growing for corporations and individuals to act more responsibly and adopt more sustainable practices to fight against plastic pollution and preserve marine life.
Already 95% of Dubai Airports’ commercial partners have signed the pledge to stop using disposable plastic in their outlets.
Notable among them is Costa Coffee which has committed to replacing its plastic-lined cups with a 100% renewable, plant-based “smart” cup.
The coffee giant sells over 2.6 million cups of coffee in Dubai’s airports a year – that alone has a great impact on change. This will be followed later next year by the introduction of a coffee cup lid made entirely from wood and paper fibre instead of single-use plastic.
Pret a Manger, McDonalds and Giraffe are also on board, alongside around 290 other retail and F&B outlets, and have started the process of eliminating consumer-facing plastic items from their concessions and replacing them with more sustainable alternatives in just 6 months.
New research commissioned by Dubai Airports highlights widespread public support for recycling initiatives.
In the UAE, over half (52%) of air travellers say they carry a reusable water bottle, and almost 1 in 2 (49%) say they will choose to eat in a restaurant to avoid plastic packaging and almost a third (32%) say they don’t buy items at the airport containing non-recyclable materials.
But it is clear that passengers feel airports could be doing more on the issue with 92% saying that they need to be more vocal about what they are doing to recycle waste.