Emirates has recycled more than 500,000kg of plastic and glass over the course of 2022, by collecting discarded bottles onboard for repurposing. 500,000kg is almost the same weight as a fully loaded Emirates flagship A380 aircraft.
Onboard every flight that lands in Dubai, Emirates Cabin Crew separate glass and plastic bottles to then be sent to a 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 well-received and implemented within weeks.
Emirates has several other initiatives which focus on repurposing plastic or using sustainable materials where possible, including blankets made from recycled plastic, children’s toys made from sustainably-sourced material and reusable amenity kits.