Buzz Emirates ecoTHREAD blanket label detail

The label detail on Emirates’ ecoTHREAD blanket. Image via BUZZ

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of APEX EXPO this year, APEX Media is looking back at its members’ most significant achievements. Today, we contemplate how the ecoTHREAD blanket created by Buzz gave new life to old plastic bottles.

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In 2015, after three full years of research and development, Buzz unveiled its ecoTHREAD blanket to help airlines lessen their environmental impact.

Made by recycling plastic drinking bottles into plastic chips which are transformed into yarn to create soft polar fleece material, ecoTHREAD blankets not only divert plastic from landfill, but also have a far more efficient manufacturing process. “By using plastic bottles instead of virgin materials, producing our ecoTHREAD blankets reduces energy emissions by 70% and creates 75% less greenhouse gas emissions,” explained Leonard Hamersfeld, director at Buzz.

As such, the ecoTHREAD blanket was certified with the Intertek Green Leaf Mark and is Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified, which means it has been independently tested by third parties and found to comply with multiple international environmental standards.

EVA Air's ecoTHREAD blanket.

EVA Air’s ecoTHREAD blanket. Image via Buzz

Hamersfeld said, “The key design challenge was to deliver a product that was sustainable, commercially viable and desirable from a passenger perspective. The blankets also needed to be durable and non-pilling to withstand multiple use and laundering.”

In March 2015, Jetstar Australia became the first airline to use ecoTHREAD blankets on board, in both its business- and economy-class cabins. Artwork on the blanket’s outer wrapping explained that each blanket was made from the equivalent of 19 400ml plastic bottles. In April 2016, they were also rolled out on Jetstar Asia flights – thereby diverting a total of 5.8 million bottles from landfill.

In January 2017, Emirates introduced ecoTHREAD blankets, each made from 28 plastic bottles, in economy class on all long-haul flights. On launching with the product, the airline claimed to have “the largest sustainable blanket program on board in the airline industry” and estimated that by the end of 2019 it will have diverted 88 million plastic bottles from landfill, equivalent to the weight of 44 A380 aircraft. EVA Air began using ecoTHREAD blankets in economy class in October 2018 and Etihad used ecoTHREAD blankets on board to support its milestone Earth Day flight.

Overall, Buzz will have diverted 95 million plastic bottles from landfill by the end of 2019.

Overall, Buzz will have diverted 95 million plastic bottles from landfill by the end of 2019. “It’s a fantastic way to celebrate the company’s twentieth anniversary, and with the aviation sector hoping to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2020, we’re glad to be doing our bit to help airlines commit to more sustainable solutions,” Hamersfeld concluded. “We are committed to innovating responsibly and the ecoTHREAD range of products is continuing to grow.”

See more posts from the 40 Success Stories campaign.