Air New Zealand commits to doubling the number of in-flight single-use plastics it will remove this year
Tue 23 July 2019 – Air New Zealand has committed to increase the number of single-use plastic items it will remove this year from 24 million to nearly 55 million items. To mark its ‘Plastic Free July’ campaign, the airline has removed individual plastic water bottles from its Business Premier and Premium Economy cabins on Tasman and Pacific Island services under five hours in duration, as well as from its Works Deluxe offering on these flights. The initiative is expected to divert more than 460,000 bottles that have to be sent annually to landfill and save over 300 tonnes of carbon emissions by reducing weight on the aircraft. The airline also plans to roll out coffee cups made from plants rather than plastic across its domestic and international networks from October, while plastic water cups will be transitioned to recyclable alternatives from September.
“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 Air New Zealand’s Acting Head of Sustainability, Anna Palairet. “The lack of composting infrastructure available in New Zealand is a challenge so we have been focused on reducing the amount of single-use plastic products we purchase in the first place.”
The airline’s previous commitment had targeted coffee and water cups on its domestic network, where the majority of cups are used, but the scope has now been expanded to introduce the lower impact cups across the international network. This will lift the total number of cups being replaced this year from 14.7 million to 44.5 million.
“It’s great to see more and more customers are bringing their reusable drink bottles and keep cups on board, and we encourage people to do this – our cabin crew team is happy to fill these,” added Palairet.
Individual plastic sauce packets are also being removed from Business Premier cabins on mainland North America and Hong Kong services, and these will be eliminated entirely from the global network by the end of October, said the airline. Customers will instead be served sauce in reusable dishes, which is expected to prevent around 200,000 plastic packets going to landfill each year.
The airline has already substituted or removed 7.1 million plastic stirrers, 3,000 plastic straws and 260,000 toothbrushes and eye mask wrappers from flights.