Australian airline Qantas has launched the first commercial flight to produce no landfill waste, marking a “significant day” for aviation. The flight marks the start of Qantas’ plans to eliminate 75 per cent of waste by 2021 and cut 100 million single-use plastics by the end of 2020. Around 1,000 single-use plastic items were substituted with sustainable alternatives or removed altogether from the flight, which included individually-packaged servings of milk, and Vegemite sachets.
Meal containers made from sugar cane and cutlery made from crop starch were some of the alternative products introduced to the flight, which were all fully compostable. At the end of the meal service, Qantas cabin crew then collected the items left over for reuse, recycling or composting in multiple waste streams.
Customers used digital boarding passes and electronic bag tags where possible, with staff on hand to make sure any paper passes and tags were disposed of sustainably. The Qantas lounges at Sydney Airport’s domestic terminal also went ‘green’ for the flight, with multiple waste streams in use. The waste reduction initiative, known as The Bowerbird Project after the Australian bird that reuses small plastic items, aims to remove 100 million single use plastic items every year by the end of 2020.