NEWS: Plastic bag ban for airports?

Air passengers could soon stop being given plastic bags at security checks after new guidance from the Department for Transport.

It wants airports to find 'suitable alternatives' to the clear bags - which were introduced after a terror plot in 2006.

Bristol Airport has already replaced one million clear bags with biodegradable ones and London City Airport last year started an eight-week challenge offering £10,000 to a company that can find an alternative - to be trialled this year.

In 2018 almost 150 million passengers departed from UK airports and were required to put their liquids, gels and pastes, of 100ml or less, into a plastic bag for security screening.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “This government is determined to cut single-use plastic and the use of eco-friendly plastic bags at airports would be a welcome step in the right direction.

“We would encourage airlines and airports to do their bit.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs added: “We welcome attempts by airports to cut conventional single-use plastic and explore alternatives.

“Among the challenges faced, the biggest is sourcing alternatives for plastic bottles, one of the most frequently used and discarded pieces of single-use plastics."

“Compostable bags can be part of the solution, but it’s important that they are disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way so they can break down properly and do not pose a risk to wildlife.”

Further afield Dubai's two airports introduced a single-use plastic ban at the start of this year after working with 250 concession and hospitality partners.

Speaking ahead of the change Eugene Barry, EVP Commercial at Dubai Airports said: “Along with our partners, including global brands such as McDonalds, Costa Coffee and Starbucks, we are committed to not only removing single-use plastics but in their place providing appropriate and importantly sustainable alternatives.”

"The phased approach will see plastic cutlery, drinking straws, take-away food packaging and polythene bags removed from cafés, restaurants and shops at the world’s busiest international airport from January 1, 2020. During the next twelve months additional products will be replaced both in customer spaces and behind the scenes.

“Among the challenges faced, the biggest is sourcing alternatives for plastic bottles, one of the most frequently used and discarded pieces of single-use plastics.

"As we work to reduce and ultimately eliminate plastics from our airports, we are increasing our recycling facilities in the customer spaces and a new partnership that will allow us to properly dispose of thousands of tonnes of single-use plastic, each year."

McDonald’s who will be replacing a total of 5,608,740 items with recyclable materials at Dubai’s two airports and Costa Coffee has committed to replacing its plastic-lined cups with a 100% renewable, plant-based “smart” cup.

The coffee giant uses over 2.6 million cups a year in Dubai’s airports alone and it is introducing a coffee cup lid made entirely from wood and paper fibre instead of single-use plastic.

Results from a specially commissioned survey for the two Dubai airports into the recycling habits of travellers showed an i'ncreased awareness, both around personal usage of plastic products and recycling, at home and while travelling'.

It found

  • In the UAE, over half (52%) of respondents claim to carry a reusable water bottle while travelling.

  • 49% would choose to dine in an airport restaurant to avoid plastic packaging that comes with take-out food options.

  • Almost a third (32%) of respondents refuse to buy items at the airport containing non-recyclable materials.

  • 92% of respondents state that airports should be more vocal about what steps they are taking to recycle waste.

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