Dubai signals plastic-free era

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In just over three weeks’ time, plastic cutlery, drinking straws, take-away food packaging and polythene bags will start to disappear from cafés, restaurants and shops at Dubai International Airport.

The move follows Dubai Airports’ pledge in June 2019 to ban all single-use plastic from January 1, 2020.

With 90 million passengers passing through Dubai’s two airports – Dubai International and Al Maktoum International  – 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 the supply chain. The team will meet the challenge by rolling out the ban with a phased approach, with the airports to be free of single-use plastics by the end of 2020.

To date, 95% of Dubai Airports’ commercial partners have signed the pledge to stop using disposable plastic in their outlets. Among them is Costa Coffee, which sells more than 2.6 million cups of coffee a year in Dubai’s airports. The company has committed to replacing its plastic-lined cups with a 100% 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 fiber 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 within just six months.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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