New year, new green initiative
From January 1, plastic cutlery, drinking straws, takeaway food packaging and polythene bags will start to disappear from the cafés, restaurants and shops of Dubai’s main airports. The initiative will be rolled out at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC), which are managed by Dubai Airports.
In June 2019, Dubai Airports promised to ban all single-use plastics heading into the new year. The initiative is supported by many of the food and beverage outlets at both locations.
With 90 million passengers passing through DXB and DWC every year, many tens of thousands of plastic items are consumed, from straws to water bottles, on a daily basis. The plastic-free initiative presents a huge logistical challenge to the management team, and to every business in the supply chain.
The ban will be phased throughout the year, completed by the close of 2020. Already, 95 per cent of Dubai Airports’ commercial partners have signed the pledge to stop using disposable plastic in their outlets.
Notable amongst them is Costa Coffee, which has committed to replacing its plastic-lined cups with a 100 per cent renewable, plant-based ‘smart’ cup. This will be followed later in 2020 by the introduction of a coffee cup lid made entirely from wood and paper-fibre.
Pret-a-Manger, McDonalds and Giraffe are also on board, alongside around 290 other retail and food outlets, and have started to replace their consumer-facing plastic items with more sustainable alternatives.
Dubai Airports knows that many of the travellers passing through the airports are very environmentally-conscious. Its own research showed that 52 per cent carry a reusable water bottle, and 49 per cent say they will choose to eat in a particular restaurant just to avoid plastic packaging. Another 32 per cent said they would not buy items at the airport containing non-recyclable materials.