As the Australian-based airline embarks on a mission to cut out the use of 100 million plastic items from its planes by next year, the airline’s – and the world’s – first flight ever to produce no landfill waste, took to the skies.
On Wednesday’s flight to Adelaide, passengers found meal containers made out of biodegradable packaging made from sugar cane, cutlery made from crop starch and paper cups. “These products will be turned into compost and used in gardens and farms across the country. Any plastic items such as bottles or any paper items will be collected and recycled,” said Andrew David, CEO of Qantas’ domestic arm.
David added that the flight from Sydney to Adelaide represented a “significant day” for aviation. The airline currently produces the equivalent of “80 fully-laden Boeing 747 jumbos” per year in waste across its Qantas and Jetstar operations.
“Our cabin crews see this waste every day and they want it eliminated and increasingly our shareholders are demanding we do more to address our environmental footprint,” said David.
A flight on this route normally produces around 34 kilograms of waste, contributing to 150 tonnes of waste annually.
The cost of switching to biodegradable materials won’t be passed on to customers, David explained. “We are prepared to make this investment and over the long term it will reduce our costs,” he said.