While the world watched the expanding network of Emirates Airlines, which in a short spell has emerged as a global major in its space, the airline airline has quietly been pursuing a major sustainability programme – reusing waste plastic bottles to make blankets for its millions of passengers. The programme which was initiated in early 2017 entails using ecothread patented technology to make soft and warm blankets which are mostly given to the passengers in the economy class of long-haul flights. And the airline is pursuing a massive milestone through this programme – using a staggering 88 million waste plastic bottles to make blankets. Quick fact here for our Indian readers. The uniforms of the Indian cricket team during the 2015 world cup was also made entirely of recycled plastic.
To churn out one blanket, as many as 28 recycled plastic bottles are used which are first crushed into plastic chips to derive yarn from them, creating a polar fleece material. The thread is then used for making blankets. The airline had started this programme in partnership with world’s leading inflight product company Buzz. The initiative is billed as the largest sustainable blanket programme on board using environment friendly technology. The airline is also claiming that the manufacturing process of using recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is reducing energy emission by as high as 70 percent. Prior to ecothread, Emirates had started a green programme which entailed on board recycling of aluminum cans, glass bottles, etc on a massive scale.
Meanwhile, the amount of waste plastic bottles which Emirates intend to productively reuse for making blankets by 2019 is estimated to weigh equivalent of the 44 A380 aircrafts, a major signpost of the airlines’ impressive fleet. The ecothread programme is also certified with the Intertek Green Leaf Mark by third party testing and certification body Intertek, independently verified to use 100 percent recycled materials.