Two airports in Dubai will be free of single-use plastics from January 1, 2020. Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC) will be free of single-use plastics from the beginning of the new year to protect the environment.

A promise was made in June 2019, and since then the airports in Dubai have worked with more than 250 of their concession and hospitality partners to implement the “plastic-free” promise.

Dubai airport – Terminal 3

Over 90 million passengers pass through Dubai Airports

According to latest numbers, over 90 million passengers are passing through Dubai’s two airports – DXB and DWC – every year. Needless to say, they consume tens of thousands of plastic items from straws to water bottles to coffee lids daily, so the plastic-free initiative presented some serious challenges for those involved.

Dubai airport immigration counter

Stepwise Approach

A statement by Dubai Airports, which manages the operation and development of Dubai’s two airports – DXB and DWC – states that the process is gradual and that plastic cutlery, drinking straws, take-away food packaging and plastic bags are removed from cafes, restaurants and shops from January 1, 2020. In the course of the year, other plastic products in customer rooms will be replaced.

Among other things, the fast food powerhouse McDonald’s is remarkable, which will replace a total of 5,608,740 items with recyclable materials at the two airports DXB and DWC in Dubai.

McDonalds at Dubai Airport

Committing to no plastic

Costa Coffee has also committed to replacing its plastic-lined cups with a 100% renewable, plant-based “intelligent” cup. The coffee giant uses over 2.6 million cups a year at Dubai airports alone, which will have a significant impact. This will be done shortly by introducing a coffee cup lid made entirely of wood and paper fibers instead of single-use plastic.

Costa at Dubai Airport

Eugene Barry, EVP Commercial at Dubai Airport said: “Costa Coffee will replace plastic cutlery with avocado seed cutlery. Costa Coffee has already taken 1 million plastic straws from its business and replaced them with a more sustainable alternative. Costa has also committed to replacing plastic ones Lined cups are made from 100% renewable, plant-based “smart” cups. The coffee giant uses more than 2.6 million cups a year at Dubai airports alone, which will soon affect the introduction of a coffee cup lid made entirely of wood and paper fibers instead of single-use plastic. ”

“This promise is another step on the long road to a greener airport. Together with our partners, which also include global brands such as McDonalds, Costa Coffee and Starbucks, we are committed not only to removing single-use plastics, but instead to offering suitable and, above all, sustainable alternatives.”

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“One of the biggest challenges is getting alternatives to plastic bottles, one of the most used and discarded pieces of single-use plastic. As we work to reduce and ultimately eliminate plastics at our airports, we are expanding our recycling facilities in our customer rooms and entering into a new partnership that will allow us to properly dispose of thousands of tons of single-use plastic every year, ”Barry continued.

Masafi small water bottle


Before the start of this special trip, Dubai Airports carried out a specially commissioned survey on the recycling habits of travelers.

Some interesting insights from the Dubai Airports survey:

Over half (52%) of those surveyed stated that they had a reusable water bottle with them when traveling.

49% eat in an airport restaurant to avoid plastic packaging with take-away food.

Almost a third (32%) of respondents refused to buy items at the airport that contain non-recyclable materials.

92% of respondents say airports should be clearer about their waste recycling steps.

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