Air New Zealand to ditch 55 million plastic items from flights

Air New Zealand will step up its waste reduction efforts – with a series of initiatives to minimise single-use plastics on flights.

Many airlines are rolling out sustainability initiatives.

Many airlines are rolling out sustainability initiatives. Source: NurPhoto

Sauce packets, cheese trays, plastic bags and coffee lids will be things of the past on Air New Zealand flights, with the carrier saying it will no longer use the disposable plastic items from November.

Single-use plastics will be swapped out for reusable options – like sauce dishes, instead of individual plastic packets.

The airline has already substituted or removed a number of plastic items – like toothbrushes, water bottles, straws and stirrers.

“Single-use plastic is a highly topical and visible issue for us and our customers, so we’re really pleased to be able to share this progress to celebrate Plastic Free July,” said Anna Palairet, the airline’s head of sustainability.

“It’s great to see more and more customers are bringing their reusable drink bottles and keep-cups on board.”

Air New Zealand estimates it has stopped almost half a million plastic bottles being sent to landfill each year – and more than seven million coffee stirrers.

By October, the airline will introduce plant-based cups.

Just last week, Air New Zealand announced it would no longer distribute newspapers in its lounges – signs around the lounges said it was part of their commitment to sustainability.

Other airlines around the world are also grappling with how to what is an incredibly environmentally damaging industry more sustainable.

Qantas trialled a zero waste commercial flight from Sydney to Adelaide in May – the airline wants to reduce plastics sent to landfill by 75 per cent by the end of next year.

Published 9 July 2019 at 7:22am