UAE hotels lead the way in fight against plastic
The UAE continues to take steps to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics.
As part of wider efforts to be more environmentally responsible, many key players in the UAE hospitality industry are now prohibiting single-use plastics.
The Hilton Hotels & Resorts recently banned the use of plastic straws from all its United Arab Emirates (UAE) hotels according to a recent announcement. Plastic bottles used in meetings have also been removed.
All told, roughly 3.5 million straws and more than 2 million plastic water bottles will be saved annually by Hilton’s 25 hotels in the UAE. This marks a substantial change and a major benefit to the environment.
In addition, Hilton properties in the UAE continue to take steps to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics. Over 2.4 million plastic packages for food and beverage products and five million plastic bags have been replaced with biodegradable alternatives.
“Last May, we made a promise to eliminate plastic straws and bottled water from conferences and we are proud to have accomplished this goal,” said William Costley, vice-president of operations for the Arabian Peninsula and Turkey at Hilton. “We will continue to work with suppliers to ensure that wherever possible, single-use plastic items are replaced with biodegradable and/or paper alternatives.”
In-house water bottle refilling
TRYP by Wyndham Dubai, a 650-room property in Barsha Heights, has also created the region’s first-ever glass water bottle refilling system, eliminating the use of plastic bottles at that property.
After the glass bottles have been used, they are cleaned, refilled and labelled in-house. This makes them the first hotel in the UAE to become completely PET bottle-free.
TRYP by Wyndham Dubai partnered with the company No More Bottles to connect a technologically-advanced water filtration unit which removes chlorine and other contaminants to the hotel’s main water supply.
The filtered water runs to a dispenser which delivers water of different temperatures and even offers sparkling water. Alternatively, the filter is fitted underneath a sink and connected directly to a tap.
Using techniques including reverse osmosis and UV light, water is made free from contaminants and chlorine, eliminating the need for expensive and environmentally unfriendly plastic bottles.
“After working in the industry, it became clear to us that reliance on plastic bottled water is unsustainable and that public perception that tap water is not drinkable meant there was a real need for change – both from an environmental impact and public perception,” said Pete Haigh, business development manager at No More Bottles. “We saw the consumer demand was beginning to change, and so the idea for a bottle free mains-water filtration system for both residential and commercial sectors was born.”
Sheikh Hamdan as an inspiration
Several Dubai restaurants have realized that packaging is another big source of plastic waste, given that most takeaway boxes, plastic plates and cutlery only get used once.
Freedom Pizza was one of the first restaurants in 2018 to remove all single-use plastic straws and cutlery from their use.
Ian Ohan, the founder of Freedom Pizza, has said they were largely inspired by the thoughtful acts of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.
On the recent International Volunteer Day the Sheikh had dedicated his efforts to cleaning the Arabian Sea and under the global environmental initiative, Strawless Ocean his hashtag #StopSucking went viral.
“We calculated that in 2017 we had put out 500,000 plastic straws and cutlery packs to our customers,” Ohan said. “As a restaurant delivery company, this made no sense; so we decided to do something about it. We replaced the cutlery with bamboo, eco-cutlery which our customers can opt to purchase with their meal if required.”
Freedom Pizza will soon launch a new concept called Wildflower Poke and More, which will involve wide-spread use of eco-friendly packaging.
Let’s take a look at a few other projects currently underway in UAE:
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