In an effort to promote sustainable living and make a positive impact on local communities, Emirates gave its old advertising billboards in Nigeria a new purpose, transforming the PVC Flex material into hundreds of reusable bags. The advertising banners collected from Lagos and Abuja, were upcycled – the heavy-duty, PVC Flex material was used to produce school bags and carryalls that were donated to students of two schools in Lagos.
In time for the start of the new academic year, two Nigerian entrepreneurs were commissioned to produce 200 school bags and 100 tote bags using the recycled billboard material. The school bags were presented to children from MAYOM Wisdom Academy and Ken Ade Primary School, both located in Makoko, Lagos. The school bags were given out to primary school students between the ages of five and nine years, while the tote bags were given to the teachers. Also included in the bags was stationery and activity books from Emirates’ on-board products for children.
Emirates’ Regional Manager West Africa, Afzal Parambil, said, “Recycling and sustainability cannot be ignored if we want leave a better planet for future generations. We have close ties with Nigeria and believe this is a meaningful way to engage our wider community and make a positive impact on society. This initiative also ties in with what we are doing on-board our aircraft with reducing single-use plastic on flights. It is gratifying to think that our advertising billboards have been reused in this creative way, that can enhance the school experience for so many children.”
He added, “It’s been wonderful to see the delighted smiles it has brought to the students, as well as partnering with local entrepreneurs and their talented teams who have worked tirelessly to make the bags, and bring this vision to life. Over the years, we have introduced multiple sustainable best practices which include our sustainable blankets produced from 100% recycled bottles and a young, fuel efficient fleet of aircraft”
The PVC Flex material is durable, strong, water resistant, tough, and light-weighted, having good colour fastness. These qualities will ensure the bags serve the recipients for a relatively long time.
The headmaster of one of the participating schools, MAYOM Wisdom Academy, Apostle Paul Omolere Awoletan said, “Thank you Emirates for this amazing initiative, perfectly timed for the start of the new school year. It’s very satisfying to see our students carrying their own bespoke bags and we appreciate the story behind it. It will be a constant reminder of how we need to be sustainable for future generations.”
The headmaster of Ken-Ade Private Primary school, Hon. Ayeseminikan B.S.E, described it as, “Fantastic idea, and a perfect gift for students going back to school.”
The bag manufacturers who partnered with Emirates on the project, Karen Anolefo, CEO, Chitoz Limited said, “The idea of recycling is beautiful. As a small business owner, I appreciate the opportunity from Emirates to work on such a unique project that is not only utilitarian, but a real example of how we can live sustainably Emirates has also done well by supporting Nigerian students; it goes a long way to build emotional connections with the community”.
Roseline Obamoyegun, whose company Ajidun Ventures, also produced the bags said, “I sincerely thank Emirates for considering me to be a part this project. Being a single parent, the production of bags is what I depend on as a means of livelihood. Trusting me with this project is significant. I join Emirates in saying ‘No to waste’ and ‘Yes’ to helping the less privileged.”
In 2017, Emirates introduced sustainable blankets produced from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Using patented ecoTHREAD™ technology, each blanket is made from 28 recycled plastic bottles. It is estimated that by the end of 2019, Emirates’ ecoTHREAD™ blankets would have rescued 88 million plastic bottles from landfills. Nigerian customers can look forward to seeing the blankets on board on all flights out of Lagos and Abuja.