1 year of Dubai Can: 7 million single-use plastic bottles saved; stakeholders; partners hail milestone

The stations throughout the city adhere to strict hygiene standards and provide clean and safe drinking water

By WAM

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Dubai Can - Water stations available across the city to encourage ‘refill culture'. Photo: Dubai Media Office
Dubai Can - Water stations available across the city to encourage ‘refill culture'. Photo: Dubai Media Office

Published: Sun 19 Feb 2023, 7:44 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 Feb 2023, 7:52 PM

Dubai Can, the sustainability initiative launched in February 2022, has reduced the use of more than seven million single-use plastic water bottles in its first year.

The initiative aims to reduce the environmental impact of single-use plastics and encourage the use of reusable bottles.

To support the initiative, 50 water fountains were installed in public parks, beaches, and tourist destinations. The movement has also inspired many private companies to install water fountains in their offices. Dubai Can aligns with the city’s commitment to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and has become a driving force for the city’s sustainability strategy.

The water stations throughout the city adhere to strict hygiene standards and provide clean and safe drinking water that is tested according to Dewa, GCC, and World Health Organisation standards. Nearly 1,000 stakeholders and sponsors from both the government and private sector have been credited with the success of Dubai Can over the past year. Their enthusiasm, dedication, and support have been vital in achieving the initiative’s goal of reducing single-use plastic water bottle consumption and promoting the use of reusable alternatives.

Tatiana Rahal, Managing Director at talabat UAE, said, “As we hit the one-year mark of talabat UAE becoming Dubai Can’s only founding partner, we are incredibly grateful for the Dubai government’s efforts to provide the community, including all delivery riders, with access to free drinking water across the city. One of our core values at talabat is to be central drivers of change and innovation and we believe that sustainability is a critical force for positive impact.”

She added, “Dubai Can goes beyond reducing single-use plastic bottles; it offers a citywide solution and enables people to adopt environmentally friendly habits. With COP 28 taking place in the UAE this year, the initiative is a reflection of the leadership's vision to encourage the adoption of sustainable ways of living to protect the environment and reduce the impact of climate change.”

Duncan O’Rourke, Chief Executive Officer Middle East, Africa & Asia Pacific for Premium, Midscale and Economy brands, Accor Group, said, “Accor’s participation in the Dubai Can initiative was a two-prong approach, the first of which was sponsoring one of the first public fountains in the city, at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The second aspect of our involvement in the project was to implement in-house filtration units providing safe and plastic-free drinking water to guests throughout our 55 hotels in the city. We have so far achieved 20 percent implementation, a number we hope to steadily increase throughout the year. We are proud to be active participants in this incredible initiative and look forward to further developing our support throughout our hotels.”

Aligi Gardenghi, Vice President, Operations, Arabian Peninsula, Hilton, commented, “In addition to supporting Dubai Can on a practical level – implementing initiatives such as air-to-water machines and water purifying systems across a range of our properties – we believe it’s invaluable as part of a broader, society-wide effort needed to foster real behavioural change, especially with the city set to lead the global climate action conversation when hosting COP 28 later this year. From this perspective, Dubai Can is perfectly aligned with Travel With Purpose, our global ESG strategy to drive responsible travel and tourism. As a leading brand in Dubai’s dynamic hospitality space, it’s imperative that we continue to embrace opportunities such as Dubai Can to effect positive environmental and social impact across our operations, supply chain, and communities.”

Sandeep Walia, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East, Marriott International, added, “We are excited to celebrate the one-year mark of the Dubai Can initiative. The efforts of the leaders and DET have inspired individuals, communities, and organisations to take initiative and support this incredible citywide sustainability movement. Marriott International is fully committed to supporting Dubai Can. In the past year, our teams have come together to support the initiative in multiple ways including the installation of water filtration systems connected with the municipality’s water supply across many of our properties in Dubai. Other ongoing initiatives include the installation of in-house bottling plants and public water filter stations at participating hotels, as well efforts to remove the use of plastic across our restaurants in the city."

Tim Cordon, COO, Middle East and Africa at Radisson Hotel Group, stated, “Radisson Hotel Group believes in a thriving, sustainable, and responsible business that supports our people, communities, and the planet with ethical business procedures, carbon reduction, sustainability practices, and employability programs to build better futures. Being part of the Dubai Can citywide sustainability movement is self-evident for us since we, as a company, already have a strong, responsible business heritage and sustainability program in place, which is built around three Pillars: Think People, Think Community, and Think Planet.”

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Untitled design - 1

Hossam Kamal, General Manager, Amwaj Rotana, said, “I am proud that in line with Rotana Earth initiatives, Amwaj Rotana has joined the global environmental movement and became the first Rotana hotel to use sustainable bottles for drinking water in guest rooms. As a five-star hotel, we can see first-hand the impact of plastic on our surroundings and environment. We believe that reducing plastic consumption is the most effective way to combat waste and positively impact the environment. We are moving toward a meaningful change which not only positively impacts the ecosystem, but also supports our guests who prioritise sustainable travel. It is an honour to be involved in such an important initiative and hope that our guests enjoy the new bottles during their stay with us.”

Ghaith Dalati, Hotel Manager, Pullman Dubai Creek City Hotel & Residences, explained, “We at our MAF-Accor are proud to support the Dubai Can initiative. In our commitment to reduce the use of plastic water bottles across our seven hotels and as part of Dubai Can campaign launched in 2022, several initiatives and projects have been launched to reduce plastic waste. In all our restaurants and meeting rooms, we use refillable, glass-filtered water for our guests’ use. We have also equipped all our long stay residential units with water filters and completely removed single-use bottles from the apartments. We are fully aligned with and will continue to help drive a culture of conscious consumerism when it comes to single use-plastic water bottles. One initiative in this direction is our collaboration with Eshara, where their Atmospheric Water Generator machines have helped us reduce thousands of plastic bottles on monthly basis. We have placed their water generators in our recreational areas and back of house, to provide our guest with free and safe water. This initiative is being scaled up to provide all our hotel rooms with fresh water bottles using recycled glass bottles as well.”

Paul Bridger, COO of Rove Hotels, said, “From day one, Rove Hotels has been positioned as a brand that stands for tackling important environmental issues and aligns with the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 initiative. All Rove properties are Green Key certified, and we are always working on simple yet impactful everyday steps to become more sustainable, such as reducing the amount of single-use plastic used in our operations. Some of these initiatives include replacing plastic water bottles in our restaurants and event spaces with refillable glass carafes, implementing recycling and garbage separation in every room, replacing key plastic cards with bamboo ones, using energy and water efficiency measures across our hotel buildings, and placing complimentary filtered water taps in our hotels’ public areas, among many other things.”

Mark Lee, General Manager of Media One Hotel, said, “Since joining the Dubai Can movement, and partnering with GROHE, Media One is proudly one of the very first sustainable hotels in Dubai. The unveiling of the Office Tower water dispenser has been a huge success as we hoped it would be. It is estimated to have over 200 daily users, plus continuous still and sparkling refills by the 1,000 office tenants and in-house guests. Media One has implemented its very own non-plastic reusable bottles which are available for all guests to purchase in our M12go coffee shop, just meters from the Grohe water tap. The Dubai Can initiative is one huge part contributing to us proudly being a zero-plastic property.”

Amal El Ansari, General Manager, Swissotel Al Ghurair, highlighted, “This year has been a memorable one for Swissotel Al Ghurair, as along with Dubai’s initiative, our owner’s support and by launching our very own water filtration system, we have welcomed and offered fresh drinking water to thousands of Dubai residents and visitors; taking a step towards a better future, towards sustainability and proving to the world that Dubai (indeed) Can make a difference.”

Marwan Hadi, Group Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, at Emirates NBD, said, “We are delighted to celebrate the success of the citywide Dubai Can initiative launched one year ago. It is rewarding to see so many residents embracing this positive change and coming together to support a common cause to preserve our precious city. As a socially responsible banking group, we will continue to pledge our support toward such initiatives advocating the preservation of the environment.”

Jiawei Liu, CEO of Huawei UAE, added, “We are proud to be associated with and are committed to this sustainability initiative. Huawei has been continuously working with the UAE government to make UAE one of the best countries in the world. We believe that together we can make difference. By using refillable water containers, we can better contribute to environment protection and a sustainable future.”

Marwan Al Mulla, General Manager at Dollar Dubai & Oman, commented, “We extend our support to Dubai Can. Let’s say no to single-use plastic bottles and together make sure the world is taken care of when it comes to recyclability. Carry your bottle during your next ride with us; let’s be part of this big initiative. Be wise to raise the sustainability spirit with one small change.”

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