Dubai Airport, the world’s busiest international airport, has decided to ban Single-Use Plastics from consumer spaces at the airport. This will come into effect from January 1, 2020. Around 32 tonnes of Single-Use Plastic bottles and bottle caps are used every year in the airport and with the new move this can be eliminated. This is in addition to other single-use plastic items such as plastic straws, plastic cups and caps, and plastic bags. Dubai airport hosts almost 90 million people per year and an initiative like this will make a tangible difference in the society. The good news is that its not just Dubai Airport that has come up with this fantastic decision.
Numerous hotel chains, restaurants, theatres, groceries, supermarkets along with individuals and households have taken initiative to eliminate Single-Use Plastic and protect our environment. Single-Use Plastic is extremely dangerous and according to reports, the increased use of the same will result in the acceleration of climate change. Plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions throughout its lifecycle, right from its production and refining to until it becomes a waste product. A cleaner and greener environment is the dream of everyone. And the industry reacts with a positive response. FM today does a round-up of industry reactions, who share what alternatives one can use in place of plastic at facilties.
Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO, Bee'ah: “We are pleased that the worldwide movement against plastic is picking up momentum. In the next 10-15 years, global plastic production is projected to nearly double. Through legislative reform, and initiatives like those taken at Dubai Airports, we can bring about signiﬁ cant change. Within the next 5 years, we believe it will be possible to ban plastics at all workplaces and homes, especially with the introduction of alternatives like bioplastics. We have introduced bioplastic bags to Sharjah, and we are currently working on building the UAE’s ﬁrst bioplastics production facility. As part of treating the existing problem of plastic pollution, we have also implemented advanced recovery techniques. Our Material Recovery Facility recovers around 1,700 tonnes of plastic every month. Through a combination of these treatment techniques and introduction of environment-friendly alternatives, we can address the threat and impact of plastic pollution.”
Mohamed Adil Haneef, COO, AG Facilities: “Millions of tons of plastic are produced worldwide, but only an estimated 9% is being recycled. Any eﬀort made to reduce the use of plastics, like the ban on Single-Use Plastic by Dubai & many other airports, is a positive contribution in Earth’s ﬁ ght against Plastic Pollution. It would be heartening when all these eﬀorts slowly but steadily bring in a cultural change across the world on how each & every one of us, by default, contributes towards a better environment. With greater awareness building up across the globe, the feasibility of banning Single-Use Plastic products should be very much possible as we have several environmentally friendly alternatives which are now available. We, at AGFS have taken many steps in the same direction since 2017 by replacing plastic water bottles with company provided Steel Bottles, using paper cups instead of Styrofoam/ plastic cups, reducing plastic stationary and replacing with paper/cardboard/ recycled/bamboo products.”
Mike Moore, Principal Consultant and Operations Director, Cushman & Wakeﬁeld: “Clearly this is great news. The FM industry will recognize the many ‘spin oﬀ ’ beneﬁts – reduction in numbers of cleaning staﬀ , waste disposal, Land ﬁll tax etc. – the list goes on and on. The challenge of course will be providing sustainable alternatives. I have seen plastic cutlery replaced with wooden products, in resort settings, I have seen plastic straws replaced with steel or glass alternatives but in mass catering/fast food settings clearly this will be a challenge. Maybe an option is bio-degradable ‘plastic’ or certainly a move away from ‘single use’ plastics. One good approach would be to charge for straws or other plastic based products, like you pay extra for disposable cups in Starbucks or for carrier bags in supermarkets.”
Mahmood Rasheed, Chief Operating Officer, Imdaad: “The banning of Single-Use Plastics at airports in Dubai and other parts of the world is a major step forward in the global ﬁght against environmental pollution. We would like to commend the Government of Dubai’s leading eﬀorts to promote sustainable practices at commercial and oﬃce premises. As part of our eﬀorts to reduce plastic waste, we, at Imdaad, have replaced plastic water cups and bottles with glassware for our employees, customers, and visitors. We have also collaborated with Dubai Municipality to launch campaigns to encourage retailers to stop using plastic bags in their outlets. We believe that businesses will realize the long-term economic and environmental beneﬁts of doing away with plastics.”
Sara Momtaz, Executive Director, Khidmah: “This is surely a positive step towards a sustainable, greener tomorrow. The widespread ban of Single-Use Plastics is not easy – but it is also not impossible. Of course, it all starts with individuals and their commitment to reducing plastic waste. Khidmah is also currently taking number of measures to reduce its use of plastic by 20% in 2020. These measures include minimizing the use of plastic, launching many recycling initiatives and processes, reusing dry liners, and using biodegradable items such as paper bags, Wooden Cutlery, Muslin Pouches, Glass Bottles, Canvas Bags Crockery. Khidmah also joined hands with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) last year for numerous environment friendly initiatives.”
Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek: “It is incredibly encouraging to see Dubai Airports leading the way in the global ﬁght against Single-Use Plastic. With over 4.9 million tonnes of waste sent to UAE landﬁlls every year it is important we all take responsibility and commit to reducing the volume of waste we create every year. At Farnek we are delighted to be playing our part with a commitment to divert and recyle 100,000 plastic (PET) bottles in 2019.”
Ahmed Yousef Al Kandari, Vice Chairman and CEO, UFM Facilities Management: "Banning plastics at facilities is a very positive move towards a healthier and green facility. I believe that it is feasible to ban plastics in facilities. Once rules and regulations consist of banning plastic use in all facilities, and alternatively use environmental-friendly products, we then ensure that we gradually succeed in moving into a healthier atmosphere. UFM has already started to do this in its facilities and with its clients by signing an understanding memo with recycling organisations (such as Omniya organisation) specialised in plastic recycling where it helped to reduce plastic use and increased the recycling process."