October 29 2019  |  Catering

EKFC adds packaging solution to green initiatives

By Rick Lundstrom

In addition to packaging improvements, EKFC has installed a solar array and will soon begin construction on its vertical farm

Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC), has introduced a new packaging solution that has replaced cardboard packaging with reusable crates to store and transport an average of 100,000 inflight meals per day.

“As a result of its newest environmental initiative, EKFC will save 750 tonnes of cardboard waste, the equivalent of 260,000 square-meters (65 acres) of mature woodland, annually,” said a release from the caterer.

“We are committed to operating with a mindset of efficiency and environmental sustainability,” said Saeed Mohammed, Chief Executive Office of Emirates Flight Catering, in yesterday’s announcement of the program. In addition to our vertical farming and solar power projects, our new packaging solution is already the third key initiative we have launched in a year to reduce our environmental footprint and deliver more value for our stakeholders. We continue to challenge our processes and work practices to ensure the highest possible level of environmental efficiency across our operations.”

This September, EKFC successfully commissioned a solar power system across its premises. It is expected to generate 4,195 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, allowing the company to meet 15% of its energy demand across its laundry, food manufacturing and staff accommodation facilities through renewable energy generation. Consequently, EKFC’s carbon dioxide emissions will decrease by 3 million kilograms annually - the equivalent of the annual electricity use of 518 family homes.

Shortly, EKFC will start constructing the world’s largest vertical farming facility in a joint venture with US-based Crop One. The 130,000 square-foot controlled environment facility will produce 2,700 kilograms of herbicide- and pesticide-free leafy greens daily, using 99% less water than outdoor fields. Its location will enable quick delivery of fresh products within hours of harvest, maintaining the food’s nutritional value and reducing carbon emissions associated with transportation. The first products are expected to be delivered to Emirates Flight Catering’s customers in 2020.

EKFC runs a recycling program, ensuring recyclable items, including plastic bottles, aluminium cans and foil, are separated from galley waste after they are removed from the aircraft. The company also has all cardboard packaging and office paper waste recycled into new paper products. Every month the caterer diverts 270,000 kilograms of material from landfill and ensures the recycling of 130,000 kilograms of cardboard, 4,000 kilograms of paper, 14,000 kilograms of aluminium cans and foil, 120,000 kilograms of glass bottles and 10,000 kilograms of plastic bottles.

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