Middle East

Etihad Rail funds 3D printed sustainable plastics science

Rail and air travel relies heavily on the cost-effectiveness and lightness of plastics for fuel efficiency. Look inside the body of an aircraft and the passenger cabins of light railways and trains and you can’t deny the importance of plastics. So yeah, while we want to ban the plastic bag and see fewer flipflops in the Seychelles we still need to push for more sustainable plastics. But much more can be done in innovation so that plastics are produced with less waste and so plastic can be upcycled, recycled or generally stopped from going to landfill. Are there tires in your lettuce? is a good lesson for us to look at. 

So a forward thinking Abu Dhabi is putting their mark on greening the plastics industry by connecting industry at Etihad Rail with students at ACTVET to apply the latest 3D printing technologies that use recycled materials. ACTVET is the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training. 

Abu Dhabi‘s Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Council, Chairman of Etihad Rail, signed an MOU to promote the engineering and design of eco-friendlier plastics with the help of expertise of young locals trained in the sector. 

Sheikh Theyab emphasised the importance of hiring Emirati manpower to work on the latest technologies for 3D printing because the UAE can’t outsource its future. Last year the UAE started taking more steps to make the home-workplace balance more equitable by offering a 4.5 day workweek.

Shadi Malak, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Rail, said “Our wise leadership have continuously empowered our nation’s youth as they are a vital part in the development of all sectors and the
drivers of continued growth and progress.”

What should we promote recycled plastics?

The use of recycled materials helps companies achieve sustainability goals by improving resource efficiency, enhancing the environment by reducing waste from production and manufacturing processes and protecting natural resources. Sustainable use of plastics materials can also improve long-term
profitability by reducing costs associated with materials waste and minimising pollution.

The application of 3D printing specifically allows the production of parts and components with
high precision, speed and lower costs compared to traditional methods of manufacturing, and saves energy by reducing the number of steps required to operate the equipment needed to produce manufacturing moulds, tools, and equipment. 

And what’s most important for the planet and the Middle East is that manufacturing is done close to home, not in a town or village in another part of the world. 



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