Airline Intends to Remove 55 Million Plastic Items From its Flights

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For each mile a jet flies, it generates 53 pounds of carbon dioxide. Until we find a better supply of aviation biofuel made from waste, though, there are other ways in which airlines are reducing their unsustainable footprint.

Airline Intends to Remove 55 Million Plastic Items From its Flights

Bruno Geiger Airplane Pictures, CC license


For each mile a jet flies, it generates 53 pounds of carbon dioxide. Until we find a better supply of aviation biofuel made from waste, though, there are other ways in which airlines are reducing their unsustainable footprint.


Air New Zealand, for example, is slashing their use of plastic on flights—cutting out 55 million items. That will make the airplanes lighter and save a wee bit of fuel.


The list of plastic on the chopping block is pretty long. According to Good News Network, it includes everything from plastic cups to water bottles, sauce packets to cheese trays. Each of those pieces has a carbon footprint equal to about three ounces of carbon dioxide, so by eliminating them from the flights, Air New Zealand cuts out 10.3 million pounds of CO2 in 2019 alone.


And passengers need not fret. You will not have to go without water once you board. You’ll actually still be able to get all the items. They’ll only look a bit different. For example, plastic sauce packets aren’t merely being removed. They are being replaced. By the fall of 2019, passengers will get mustard and mayo in reusable dishes rather than the regular throwaway packets. That alone, as the airline estimates, will eliminate about 200,000 pieces of plastic each year.


The majority of the 55 million items, though, come in the form of 29 million cups. Passengers on international flights will still be able to get a cup of coffee when they want. However, those cups will be made from plants. It’s a change the airline started earlier in 2019 on domestic flights, swapping out 14.7 million for the plant-based version. The same goes for plastic water cups, that will be exchanged for a recyclable alternative.


As reported by Air New Zealand’s Acting Head of Sustainability Anna Palairet, the idea is to help the environment by cutting down on the airline’s carbon footprint. The company generated 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, making it one of New Zealand’s greatest polluters.


Most of the trash we put in landfills is biodegradable, which means it breaks down over time and gets recycled naturally in the soil. While most items take days or months to decompose, plastics might take hundreds of years, if not thousands. In New Zealand, there isn't much of an infrastructure to support alternative methods of disposing plastics, so the waste piles up in landfills.


With that idea, the plastic stays out of landfills, while the carbon stays out of the skies, helping humanity take a step toward a cleaner future.

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Thinking Humanity: Airline Intends to Remove 55 Million Plastic Items From its Flights
Airline Intends to Remove 55 Million Plastic Items From its Flights
For each mile a jet flies, it generates 53 pounds of carbon dioxide. Until we find a better supply of aviation biofuel made from waste, though, there are other ways in which airlines are reducing their unsustainable footprint.
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