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Euronews Takes a Look at Dubai's Potential for a Plastic Free Future
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Euronews Takes a Look at Dubai's Potential for a Plastic Free Future

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In the wake of Dubai Airport’s move of banning all single use plastics from the first of this month, leading international news channel, euronews spoke to business owners in Dubai about their efforts to help reduce the city’s plastic consumption in 2020.

In a recent survey conducted by Censuswide, it was reported that 90 percent of people are making a conscious effort to reduce their own plastic waste consumption. Nearly four in five say they recycle more now than they did five years ago, and one in four people say they're encouraged to recycle more by corporations championing plastic free initiatives.

With a consumer shift towards using less plastic evident, the Dubai Airports initiative, and hotels and restaurants across Dubai pledging to use alternative materials instead of single use plastic, it is clear that ditching the plastic has to be a joint effort between consumers and businesses, and something that Dubai is becoming more conscious about.

In an interview, that aired on 24th January 2020, euronews spoke to Dubai Airports about their initiative that will drastically reduce the capital’s plastic usage going in to the new era, Eugene Barry, Executive Vice President (Commercial), Dubai Airports said: “Ninety five percent of our partners have actually made the pledge to switch from plastic to appropriate and relevant substitutes for some of the products that are using catering and retail across the airport.” 

He added: “Some of our partners like McDonald's, Costa Coffee, Pret a Manger and some of our local brands here, like Tree House and Transee have already introduced products which are suitable and environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic. This is very much the early stages of a long journey, I believe, to have a more environmentally friendly approach to managing businesses.” 

Also speaking to euronews and documenting a consumer shift in Dubai that is seeing the demand for the recycled, non-plastic straw was Peter Avram, Managing Director, Avani Middle Eastavani. He commented: “The private sector are at the forefront of the fight against the plastic pandemic in blasting single plastic use. Until a couple of years ago we had no major solutions, particularly for the bag. This bag, as you can see here, is made out of a kind of a potato. It’s called a cassava. They get and mixed with vegetable oil and then they are made into this type of grains. They are processed through this machine, which melts them and then blows them into film, and then that is what we cut into shape. Then we blow up the bags. We have a couple of customers that they already sell, like Virgin Megastore. We have a couple of smaller operators that do use the bag. What has happened is we reduce the consumption of bags up to even more than 50 percent. And that's the biggest contribution that we could make.” 

Although companies in Dubai know that making the switch to banning all single use plastics in their establishments will have financial implications, continuing to use plastic just isn't an option for most.

Feeling strongly about this view is restauranteur Tom Arnel, Founder of popular casual eatery Common Grounds. He said: “As a father of three kids, I take my family to the beach all the time and to see the amount of plastic that's building up in our sand and in our oceans is just crazy. So our to the environment is huge. You know, we serve thousands of customers a week and every little bit that we can do really does go a long way to help the situation. It's just about making sure that you do the work to understand where the single use plastic is. All of our plastic cups, all of our plastic takeaway bowls and plates and cutlery, you know, replenishing those those areas of our kitchens with things that we knew were great for the environment. The feedback from our customers has been amazing. So as long as everyone's doing their bit and understanding their impact, we should be able to make a change together. (sic)

The programme is available to view on euronews.com. https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/24/dubai-acts-to-stem-the-tide-of-single-use-plastic











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