Australia – In the most ambitious waste reduction goal by any major airline globally, The Qantas Group of airlines recently made an announcement of plans to cut its amount of waste to landfill by 75 percent by end of 2021.
Like many other airlines The Qantas Group, made up of Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar generates tonnes of waste annually. For example, Qantas and Jetstar produce more than 30 000 tonnes of waste in Australia.
The ambitious plans by Qantas will make the airline operator the world’s first airline to reuse, recycle and compost at least three-quarters of its general waste in the next two years.
Announcing the plan as part of the airline’s half-year results, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said that business had a responsibility to lead on environmental issues.
“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,” said Mr Joyce. “It is quite literally a waste and we have a responsibility to our customers, shareholders and the community to reduce it.”
The Qantas Group will be implementing a host of waste reduction measures that will include for instance the use of recyclable or compostable coffee cups.
Other measures to be implemented in 2019 will include: effectively eliminating single-use plastics; removing unnecessary paper such as boarding passes and operational manual, by going digital; increasing donation or compositing of food; recycling of old uniforms.
“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,” Joyce explained.
The airline group is targeting the removal of 100 million single use plastic items per year by the end of 2020. In addition, the group has an existing target to reduce waste to landfill by 30 per cent in the next two years through recycling and other programs.
Besides its waste reduction plans, Qantas already has separate targets for fuel, water and electricity consumption reduction.
Qantas also has the largest carbon offset scheme of any airline in the world. To achieve this, the Qantas Group enables customers to fly carbon neutral when they book through the airline’s website. And from mid-2019, customers will earn 10 points for every dollar spent offsetting their travel from Australia.
“Around 10 per cent of passengers already choose to offset their flights so we’re hoping that the added incentive of earning Qantas Points helps to boost this number,” concluded Joyce.