Recycling and sustainability go hand-in-hand. With this mantra, the Emirates has recycled over 500,000 kilograms of plastic and glass in 2022. Interestingly, 500,000 kilograms is almost the same weight as a fully loaded Emirates flagship A380 aircraft.
The Emirates crew collects discarded plastic and glass bottles and separate them before sending it over to the recycling plant in Dubai. The glass is separated by colour and crushed. This ‘cullet’ or recycled glass that is ready to be re-melted, is then sent to glass manufacturers in the UAE to include in their batch mix for new bottles. The plastic bottles are cleaned, chopped into flakes, melted into pellets, and sent to manufacturers to make other plastic products.
As a result, Emirates and Emirates Flight Catering divert thousands of kilograms of glass and plastic away from landfill each year.
The glass and plastic recycling initiative onboard was suggested by environmentally conscious Emirates Cabin Crew in 2019, as part of regular webinars and events where they are given a platform to share feedback and encouraged to share innovative ideas to key departments. The proposal was implemented within weeks.
Besides, for the last 6 years, Emirates is offering sustainable blankets made from recycled plastic bottles to Economy passengers on long haul flights. The blankets are made from 28 recycled plastic bottles. The bottles are shredded into plastic chips before being turned into yarn, creating a fleece material. The fine thread is then woven into soft blankets. Emirates blankets have prevented more than 95 million plastic bottles from going to landfill and proved to be one of the largest sustainable blanket programmes on board in the airline industry.
The airline’s complimentary toy bags, baby amenity kits and plush toys are also made from recycled plastic bottles and other sustainable materials.