News & Opinion | May 8, 2019 10:12 am

Australian Airline Launches Zero Garbage Flight, Produces No Landfill Waste

Qantas is on a mission to cut out plastic use on flights

zero garbage flight
Qantas has launched a new zero garbage flight initiative
Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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When it comes to cutting back on landfill waste, one airline is starting with the sky.

Australian carrier Qantas has trialled the world’s first ever flight to produce no plastic landfill waste, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The new zero garbage flight initiative is part of the airline’s mission to cut out the use of 100 million plastic items from its planes this year.

According to the Herald, the airline currently produces around 34 kilograms of waste per flight, which equates to “80 fully-laden Boeing 747 jumbos” per year in waste.

“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,” Qantas CEO Andrew David told the outlet, adding that the trial flight marked a “significant day” for aviation.

On the flight, which left Sydney for Adelaide Wednesday morning, customers were served with a variety of sustainable items, including biodegradable meal containers made from sugar cane, cutlery made from crop starch, and paper cups.

After use, these biodegradable products will reportedly be used in farms and gardens as compost, while plastic and paper items will be recycled.

According to the David, the airline’s customers will not be affected by the cost of switching to biodegradable materials. “We are prepared to make this investment and over the long term it will reduce our costs,” he told the Herald. 

Meanwhile, customers who boarded the trial flight were reportedly satisfied with the changes. One passenger, who was not aware of the trial prior to boarding, told the outlet she noticed no change to the regular service.

“I think it is on the average Australian’s mind how much goes into landfill,” she said. “The biodegradable packets are a really good idea.”