Qantas has unveiled an ambitious plan to reuse,
recycle and compost at least three-quarters of its general waste
by the end of 2021.
Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said, “In the process of carrying 50 million people
each year, we deal with more than 30,000 tonnes of waste. That’s
the same weight as about eighty 747 jumbos. It is
quite literally a waste and we have a responsibility to our
customers, shareholders and the community to reduce it. We’ve
already removed plastic wrapping on our pyjamas and headsets, as
well as plastic straws. Even plastic Frequent Flyer cards are
going digital. It adds up to millions of items a year because of
our scale and there’s a lot more we can do.”
Some examples of changes to be implemented
across Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar from later this year
- Introducing coffee cups that can be recycled
- Effectively eliminating single-use plastics by
switching to alternative packaging;
- Removing unnecessary
paper, such as boarding passes and operational manuals, by going
- Increasing donation or composting of food; and
Recycling of old uniforms.
In targeting the removal of 100 million single
use plastic items per annum, the group will replace 45 million
plastic cups, 30 million cutlery sets, 21 million coffee cups and
4 million headrest covers with sustainable alternatives by
end-2020. This list of items goes well beyond the recent European
Union ban, both in scope and speed of implementation.
The group has an existing target to reduce waste
to landfill by 30% by 2020, which it’s on track to reach through
recycling and other programs. The 75% goal now takes its place.
Separate targets exist for fuel, water and electricity
consumption, and Qantas has the largest carbon offset scheme of
any airline in the world.
Airlines are legally required to dispose of some
materials permanently, such as quarantined food from international
flights and hazardous materials. With support from industry and
regulators, the group believes it can ultimately reduce the volume
of this regulated waste as well.
Similarly, there are some single use plastics
used by airlines (such as wrapping for hygiene purposes and some
heat resistant containers for meal preparation) that don’t
currently have a practical alternative. Qantas and Jetstar are
working with manufacturers and other airlines to innovate in this
space to further reduce waste to landfill.
“Few industries can eradicate waste
completely, but with this program we’re saying that avoidable
waste should no longer be an acceptable by-product of how we do
business. This isn’t just the right thing to do, it is good for
business and will put us ahead of legislative requirements in the
various countries we operate in, where there is an end-date on
various single use plastics. Some of the best feedback to our
efforts so far has been from our crew, who see the sheer volume of
waste generated in cabins of hundreds of people every day. We’ll
be asking for help from our people, customers, suppliers and
regulators to help us reach this goal,” Mr Joyce added.
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