Going green: Emirates partners deSter to bring in closed loop recycling initiative to reduce plastic – ET TravelWorld

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To mark the United Nations World Environment Day and the theme of #BeatPlasticPollution, Emirates is introducing the new recycled utensils onboard from June 2023 onwards.In what would redefine the way the airline handles waste, Emirates Airlines has partnered with deSter FZE UAE to unveil a new closed loop recycling initiative this month. The onboard items such as plastic trays, bowls, snack and casserole dishes, will now be recycled in a local facility and remade into fresh, ready-to-use Emirates meal service products.

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.

According to the airline, the initiative is in line with its commitment to consuming responsibly and a transition to the principles of a circular economy, whereby items are reduced, reused, and recycled.

DeSter FZE UAE is a leading provider of serviceware concepts to the aviation industry and an expert in closed loop manufacturing. 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.

According to Emirates, it elected to work with deSter once a facility in UAE was ready to facilitate the huge scale of Emirates’ requirement – substantially reducing the carbon footprint of sending the products to another country to be recycled. The deSter factory also incorporates sustainable design principles focusing on solar power, efficient use of water and minimisation of waste.

In addition to the new closed loop recycling project, the airline has been consciously trying to reduce plastic waste through sustained efforts. These include use of straws, inflight retail bags and stirrers made with responsibly sourced paper and wooden alternatives; blankets manufactured from 28 recycled plastic bottles; using hygiene covers for bowls and tumblers made from 80 per cent recycled plastic (rPET), among others.

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

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