From single use plastics like knifes and forks to paper boarding passes, there is a lot of waste generated when flying. Airlines have the ability to divert waste from landfill, use sustainable products or avoid using altogether from airport lounges and terminals to on-board the aircraft, throughout maintenance and during food preparation or at head office.
Non-zero waste flights:
- May not use bio-degradable products;
- May use single use plastics which; and
- Contribute a significant proportion of waste to landfill.
In comparison, zero waste flights:
- Divert waste from landfill by composting cups, recycling plastics and uniforms;
- Use sustainable products like bio-based materials and compostable food services products; and
- Avoid using single use plastics, plastic packaging and paper boarding passes.
The first-ever commercial flight to produce no landfill waste took to the skies on 8th May, 2019 from Sydney to Adelaide (QF739), marking the start of Qantas’ plan to cut 100 million single-use plastics by end-2020 and eliminate 75 per cent of the airline’s waste by end-2021.
The zero waste flight will be 100 per cent carbon offset. Qantas operates the largest carbon offset scheme in the aviation industry, with a passenger offsetting their flight every minute.
BioPak’s compostable packaging used in the worlds first zero waste flight which includes bio-cups with plastic made from plant matter not oil, bio-napkins made with FSC certified pulp, bio-cane food containers made from sugar cane pulp left over from refineries and bio-plastic cutlery made from starch sourced from non-GMO crops.
Qantas have also partnered with SUEZ to dispose of items sustainably including composting organic materials which will be broken down with micro-organisms and finally returned back to farms and gardens. SUEZ will also recycle and reuse plastic, paper, glass and aluminium packaging into new products and non-recyclable plastics will be used in cement making to made the cement less energy intensive reducing overall emissions.
Flying from Sydney to Adelaide anytime soon? Click here and search for flight QF739.
More zero waste flights from Qantas will be coming to an airport near you soon!
Looking for zero waste alternatives? Check out our reuse & zero waste page.