London City Airport launches £10k sustainable security bag challenge

Circular economy

London City Airport is launching an eight-week, £10,000, challenge for innovators to design or further develop a new, sustainable, sealable security bag for use at the airport.

Like all UK consumers, the airport’s passengers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of single-use plastic. Annually, the UK throws away 3.7 million tonnes of plastic, with just 32% being recycled.

Last year, 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, more than 2 million single-use plastic bags are used by its 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.

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.

Alison FitzGerald, Chief Operating Officer for London City Airport, said:

“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.

“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.”

London City Airport continues to reduce waste in other areas of the business, including the conversion of all its coffee waste to biofuel, with bio-bean, turning four tonnes of coffee waste into a sustainable fuel source last year. To reduce the amount of plastic waste across the airport, London City Airport was also the first UK airport to ban single-use plastic straws. Now the airport is seeking a robust sustainable solution for plastic security bags for passengers.

Do you have the ideas, expertise and development potential to produce an alternative solution? To express your interest please email [email protected]

The airport is also seeking views from its passengers on their appetite to use these alternative products. Trials will take place early next year with the winning design.