Physics would suggest that covering yourself in plastic bottles may not seem like the ideal way to keep warm in an airplane cabin, but Emirates wants you to do exactly that. Today, it’s introducing new sustainable blankets made from 100 percent recycled bottles.
The airline has partnered with Buzz, a creative agency, to offer ecothread blankets on all long-haul Emirates flights in economy class. Each blanket is spun from 28 plastic bottles that have been broken into tiny little chips, melted into liquid, then turned into yarn. Emirates estimates that by the end of 2019, the blankets will have rescued 88 million plastic bottles from landfills. That’s equal to the weight of 44 Airbus A380s.
Ecothread blankets were first introduced in commercial airlines with Australia-based Jetstar Airways in 2016. Other airlines have also figured out clever ways to recycle in-flight materials, such as KLM turning used uniforms into aircraft carpets and Air France turning old posters and life jackets into bags. American Airlines has also melted plastic windows into materials to create toys.
So perhaps the blankets you get in economy class aren’t super comfortable, but at least you can feel a little better about their environmental impact considering how much of a carbon footprint an airplane leaves behind each time it flies.