Sustainable security bag challenge launched by London City Airport

London City Airport is launching a challenge to develop a sustainable alternative to single-use security plastic bags.

An eight-week, £10,000 challenge for innovators to design or further develop a new, sustainable, sealable security bag for use at airports is being launched by London City Airport.

Annually, the UK throws away 3.7 million tonnes of plastic, with just 32 per cent being recycled. In 2018, almost 150 million passengers departed from UK airports, each of them required to put their liquids, gels and pastes, of 100ml or less, into a plastic bag for security screening. That means that at London City Airport alone, over two million single-use plastic bags are used by passengers every year.

New security CT scanners will allow liquids to stay in passengers’ bags, but until this technology is more widely used at airports, non-recyclable plastic bags will remain the norm.

Now, with the increasing concern over the environmental impact of single-use plastic, London City Airport is launching this challenge as part of its campaign to be the most sustainable airport in the UK.

“As part of our aim to become the most sustainable airport in the UK, we want to find an innovative product that provides an alternative to the plastic bags, used often just once, found at airport security across the globe,” said Alison FitzGerald, Chief Operating Officer for London City Airport. “So now London City Airport has posed the challenge to innovators across London and beyond, to show us what you have or what might be possible, and help develop a usable product that could become the industry standard.”

We want to find an innovative product that provides an alternative to the plastic bags found at airport security”

In its sustainability efforts, London City Airport has converted all of its coffee waste to biofuel and reduced the amount of plastic waste across the airport, being the first UK airport to ban single-use plastic straws. 

The winner of the Sustainable Security Bag Challenge will earn a prize of £10,000, trial their product at the airport, and if successful, earn a commercial contract to supply it for London City Airport’s passengers. The airport is also seeking views from its passengers on their appetite to use these alternative products. Trials will take place early 2020 with the winning design.

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