Dubai flights: Emirates to start using recycled utensils on board from this month

Millions of old and damaged meal service items will be collected after flights, washed and checked for damage, transported to a facility in Dubai to be manufactured into new dishes, bowls and trays

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By Web Desk

Published: Thu 1 Jun 2023, 3:33 PM

From June onwards, Dubai's flagship carrier Emirates will be using new recycled utensils on its flights as part of its massive eco drive.

Now, millions of onboard items — such as plastic trays, bowls, snack and casserole dishes — will be recycled in a local facility and remade into fresh, ready-to-use Emirates meal service products, the airline announced on Thursday as it launched its new closed loop recycling initiative.

The unveiling comes in observance of UN World Environment Day on June 5, with the theme #BeatPlasticPollution.

In line with Emirates’ commitment to consuming responsibly, the new initiative is a transition to the principles of a circular economy, whereby items are reduced, reused, and recycled.

How it works

Millions of old and damaged meal service items from Economy and Premium Economy Class dining will be collected after flights, washed and checked for damage, transported to a facility in Dubai to be ground down, reprocessed, and manufactured into new dishes, bowls and trays — before being sent to Emirates Flight Catering to be used again for thousands of meals in the sky.

In partnership with deSter FZE UAE, a leading provider of serviceware concepts to the aviation industry, and expert in closed loop manufacturing, Emirates will be reusing plastic materials that have already reached their end-of-life and would otherwise need to be written off.

The new trays, casseroles, snack dishes and bowls, containing at least 25 per cent reused material (recyclate), will be brought back into service on aircraft across the globe, and the proportion will continue to increase over time.

The team at deSter are members of the CE100 network, which includes some of the world’s leading circular economy companies and have also been awarded the ‘Gold’ Sustainability rating from Ecovadis – a globally recognised certification for sustainable practices.


Emirates’ commitment to reducing plastic waste

Besides this new recycling project, Emirates has already implemented several initiatives to reduce plastic waste.

It has diverted over 150 million single-use plastic items from landfills each year by replacing plastic straws, inflight retail bags, and stirrers with responsibly sourced paper and wooden alternatives.

Economy and Premium Economy Class passengers can get comfortable with soft blankets on board, where each blanket is manufactured from 28 recycled plastic bottles. Over the course of one year, this initiative saves 88 million plastic bottles from landfill.

Emirates’ current range of inflight toy bags, baby amenity kits and plush toys are made from recycled plastic bottles, and over 8 million plastic bottles were repurposed during 12 months of amenity kit production.

The hygiene covers for bowls on Emirates meal trays and plastic tumblers are made from 80 per cent recycled plastic (rPET).

Emirates Economy and Premium Economy amenity kits are made from alternative materials such as kraft paper, rice paper and recycled plastic, reducing the consumption of virgin plastic.

Emirates Cabin Crew segregate glass and plastic bottles for recycling in Dubai, diverting about 500,000kg of plastic and glass from landfill in 2022.


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