Air line industry could do a lot better to avoid plastic waste.Posted on September 22, 2013 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News
On a recent international trip, we took note of how many plastic items were served to us during the flight. It was a 12 hour flight from Spain to Singapore to Australia. Hence multiple meals were served during that flight.
The air line industry has some unique challenges associated with it which has tended to drive it towards a lot of disposable plastic items being used. Issues like weight (fuel costs) , limited storage space, limited cabin crew, and quarantine between countries. The easy way out is to make all this disposable plastic that gets collected up as trash and sent out for disposal at the end of the flight. But this is an environmental problem. All the people flying every day makes for a very a large amount of plastic waste being generated every day. Much of it is not necessary and can be replaced with reusable items if the air lines took the time to study the problem. Some airlines do already use a number of reusable items like cutlery, and cups. They should be recognised as leaders in their industry where as those that just opt for the easy way out and choose not to think about their procedures, and showing no care for the environment should be made to change their ways.
On this one flight every person was given;
A) On arrival at their seat.
1) Plastic bag for the head phones
2) Plastic bag for the head phone covers
3) Plastic bag for the blanket
B) Meal 1
1) Plastic container of water
2) Plastic cup for fruit juice
3) Plastic bag for cutlery
4) Plastic container with butter in it
5) Plastic container with milk in it
6) Plastic wrapped cheese
7) Plastic top for the green salad
8) Plastic bag for the salt and pepper sachets
9) Plastic wrapper around an ice cream.
10) The plastic soda/water bottle was declined.
C) Meal 2 (Snack)
1) Plastic cutlery bag
2) Plastic bag for the salt and pepper sachets
3) Plastic juice cup
4) Plastic container with milk in it
5) Plastic container with vegetables in it.
6) Plastic container with condiments in it.
7) The plastic soda/water bottle was declined
D) Meal 3
1) Similar to meal 1
Making 26 pieces of plastic per passenger on the plane. In the Changi airport they reported they moved 51 million people per year. Using 300 people per flight that could make approx 400 billion items of plastic just from these flights alone through Singapore. Then there are all the other air lines in the word doing a similar thing.
Let’s not forget, unless it has been incinerated, virtually every piece of plastic every made is still with us sitting somewhere.