Emirates has made a commitment to reduce single-use plastics on board its aircraft, with paper straws introduced on some flights this month.

The airline has set out various long-term sustainability initiatives, including the removal of plastic straws, swizzle sticks and stirrers, which will be replaced with eco-friendly alternatives by the end of the year.

From August, plastic bags used for in-flight shopping will be replaced with paper versions.

Emirates says the initiatives will remove an estimated 81.7 million single-use plastic items from landfill each year.

In addition, the airline has been conducting on-board trials to explore various recycling initiatives, with staff and cabin crew providing feedback and suggestions on sustainable ideas. Based on one staff member’s suggestion, Emirates is now segregating large plastic bottles on board to be recycled, diverting an estimated three tonnes or 150,000 bottles from landfill in Dubai each month.

The scheme is the latest in a series of sustainability projects launched by the airline. In 2017, it introduced ecoTHREAD blankets made from recycled plastic bottles for its Economy Class cabin. The blankets are estimated to keep 88 million plastic bottles from reaching landfill by the end of this year.

Emirates joins a growing list of carriers that are reducing or recycling single-use plastics on board, including Air France, Austrian Airlines, Delta and Qantas, among others.


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