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World's first 'zero waste' flight takes off in Australia

 

Xinhua

Sydney, Australia  /  Thu, May 9, 2019  /  12:36 pm
World's first 'zero waste' flight takes off in Australia

Flying from Sydney to Adelaide, all products and packaging onboard QF739 will either be reused, recycled or disposed of as compost. (Qantas/File)

The first-ever commercial flight to produce "zero waste" has taken to the skies on Wednesday, as part of a new initiative from the Australian airline Qantas to cut single-use plastics that end up in landfill.

Flying from Sydney to Adelaide, all products and packaging onboard QF739 will either be reused, recycled or disposed of as compost.

"In the process of carrying over 50 million people every year, Qantas and Jetstar currently produce an amount of waste equivalent to 80 fully-laden Boeing 747 jumbo jets," Qantas Domestic CEO Andrew David said.

"We want to give customers the same level of service they currently enjoy, but without the amount of waste that comes with it."

"This flight is about testing our products, refining the waste process and getting feedback from our customers," he added.

Read also: Not so fantastic: Can Japan end its love affair with plastic?

As well as all-digital boarding passes and electronic bag tags, around 1000 single-use plastic items were swapped for more environmentally friendly alternatives.

With meal containers made from sugar cane and cutlery constructed from crop starch, David explained the new sustainable solutions will save around 34 kg of waste per flight, equating to 150 tons per year on the Sydney to Adelaide route.

Set to roll out the initiative on other routes, Qantas said its goal is to eliminate 100 million single use plastic items every year by the end of 2020 by replacing 45 million plastic cups, 30 million cutlery sets, 21 million coffee cups and 4 million headrest covers with sustainable substitutes.

From 2019, the airline will also offer customers frequent flyer points for participating in their carbon offset scheme.