23-Oct-2019 | 3 MIN READ | CATEGORY

London City Airport Looking For Sustainable Innovators

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

London City Airport already converts 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

The competition opens on 21 October and will end on 16 December 2019 (a duration of eight weeks).
The airport is looking for a sustainable solution for the sealable plastic security bag which satisfies the demands from passengers, is economically competitive, and adheres to the requirements set by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

It must:

  • Be a fully sustainable product (recyclable or compostable)
  • Reduce waste
  • Reduce carbon impact in production and disposal
  • Be ethically sourced

The regulations from the CAA are:

  • Containers must hold no more than 100ml
  • Containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm
  • The bag must not be knotted or tied at the top
  • The requirements can be found on the government’s website:


The Prize

The winner of the ‘Sustainable Security Bag Challenge’ will receive a prize of £10,000 and will have the opportunity to trial the solution at the airport, with its backing.

The Process

The airport’s ‘Sustainable Security Bag Challenge’ will be open for an eight-week period. The applications will be reviewed by an expert panel consisting of representatives from security and sustainability teams. The shortlist will be presented to the Sustainability Steering Group. The successful applicant will be given the opportunity to trial their product and undertake a consultation with passengers to investigate the viability of their proposed solution, and attitudes towards it.