Airlines pushing to reduce plastic waste

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Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - Emirates airlines introduced eco-friendly paper straws on June 1, [2019], and all Emirates flights will soon be plastic straw-free, according to the airline.

The airline said it has been working on various long-term sustainability initiatives. In addition to plastic straws, plastic swizzle sticks and stirrers will also be replaced with eco-friendly alternatives by the end of the year. From August, plastic bags used for Inflight Retail purchases will also be replaced with paper bags. These initiatives will remove an estimated 81.7 million single-use plastic items from landfill each year.

In 2017, Emirates introduced ecoTHREAD™ blankets made from recycled plastic bottles for its Economy Class cabin. Each blanket is made from 28 recycled plastic bottles and this year, Emirates would have saved 88 million plastic bottles from landfill from this initiative alone.

“We have already implemented a number of sustainable product components, and others are under development,” a spokesperson for Lufthansa said in a email statement to Al Khaleej Today. “These include a new beverage cup made from recycled plastic. On long-haul flights, we mainly use reusable tableware in all classes. We will reduce and replace over 370 million individual plastic items per year.”

From 2020, when the EU bans single-use plastics, Lufthansa plans to replace stirring sticks and plastic cutlery with sustainables (bamboo).

Also, “Together with crew, we are developing a so-called ‘Liquid Waste Trolley’, which significantly simplifies the recycling possibilities The trolley is scheduled to arrive in 2021.”

Alaska Airlines, Ryanair and British Airways have made public declarations to reduce waste.

Air France

210 million single-use plastic items like cups and stirring sticks will be eliminated by the end of this year.

On one flight in May, which the company called “the first-ever commercial flight to produce no landfill waste”, the airline removed individually packaged servings of milk and Vegemite, and served meals in containers made from sugar cane, with utensils made of crop starch.

United Airlines

On a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles in June this year, it served meals using “fully recyclable or compostable service ware”.

— With inputs from Washington Post

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