Emirates Airline creates special schoolbags with recycled billboard ads

Emirates Airline

In light of World Environment Day, Emirates Airline has given its old advertising billboards in South Africa a new lease of life, transforming the PVC Flex material into hundreds of reusable bags.

In an effort to spread the message of sustainability and make a positive impact on local communities, the advertising banners collected from across South Africa were given a second life, with the heavy-duty, PVC Flex material upcycled to produce school bags that were donated to students of Emfundisweni Primary School in Alexandra.

A total of 517m2 of PVC Flex material was collected and sent to Johannesburg, where Emirates Airline commissioned Soweto-based entrepreneur, Raymond Phiri of Motion Bags, to design and create the bags. Phiri and his talented team, with support from Just Bags – another local enterprise – helped bring the vision to life, creating 200 school bags and 125 shopping bags.

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“The movement towards sustainable living is now more important than ever and we need to take an active role to reduce our carbon footprint and make an impact where we can,” regional manager, Emirates Airline Southern Africa, Fouad Caunhye declared. “This project not only gave us that opportunity, but also enabled us to engage with our community in a meaningful way. Partnering with local entrepreneur Raymond Phiri to create items that will bring joy to children, will only strengthen the close bonds Emirates Airline already has with South Africa and its people.”

Meanwhile, Phiri said: “This project is very close to my heart because I know what it’s like not to have a bag for school when the other children do. These bags are incredibly strong, water-resistant and will endure. Grade one learners that receive these bags will be able to use them until grade seven.”

Caunhye and representatives from the airline’s local office in Johannesburg visited the primary school to handover the upcycled bags to 200 students. Also included in the bags was a selection of stationery and activities books from Emirates’ onboard products for children.

In 2017, Emirates Airline introduced sustainable blankets produced from 100 per cent 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.