The world’s busiest airport is going plastic free. Dubai International Airport will eliminate all single-use plastics from January 2020. Dubai World Central Airport will also eliminate single-use plastics.
Between them, the airports will eliminate 5,500 tonnes of single-use plastic every year.
The news comes after Dubai Airports, the company that manages both Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central, made a pledge in June to ban single-use plastic items.
Items such as cutlery, straws and shopping bags will be ditched from consumer spaces from the start of next year.
More than 90 million passengers travel via Dubai’s two airports every year, using tens of thousands of plastic items every day. The plastic ban will be completed by the end of next year.
Outlets at the airports are signing up to go plastic free, with McDonald’s set to replace 5,608,740 items with recyclable materials. Costa is introducing a new fully sustainable coffee cup at its airport outlets and 95 per cent of the airport's commercial partners have already pledged to ditch single use plastics.
More than half of air travellers say they carry a reusable water bottle according to research commissioned by Dubai Airports. Another 49 per cent of passengers surveyed said they will choose to eat in airport restaurants that avoid plastic packaging.
Changes already in action
Sustainable changes are already underway at Dubai Airports, with around 11,000 plastic bottles being recycled from security checkpoints on a daily basis.
Unlike many other airports, neither Dubai International Airport or Dubai World Central provides passengers with plastic bags for carrying liquids through security. When it comes to sealable bags for duty-free shopping, the bags that are already in use will continue to be used as they have been deemed environmentally friendly.
"The Security Tamper-evident Bags (STEBs) used at duty free for passengers to securely carry liquids, aerosols and gels are approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and are made from biodegradable plastic," a spokesperson from Dubai Airports told The National.
So far this year, Dubai Airports recycled around 280 tonnes of single-use plastic.
The move is part of the aviation industry's efforts to become more environmentally responsible. Dubai will join other airports prioritising sustainability, such as San Francisco, Mumbai and New Delhi, which have also banned single-use plastics.