Qantas has revealed that they’re aiming to become the world’s FIRST airline to reuse, recycle and compost at least three-quarters of their general waste by the end of 2021.

Kudos to the Flying Roo on this great goal!

The plan was announced this morning as part of Qantas’  H1 results, with Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce saying that airline 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,” he said.

Qantas has already removed plastic wrapping on their pyjamas and headsets and cut out 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,” Alan Joyce said.

Some examples of changes to be implemented across Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar from later this year include: introducing coffee cups that can be recycled or composted, eliminating single-use plastics and removing unnecessary paper  by going digital.

Qantas also plans to increase the donation of or composting of food and the recycling of old uniforms.

In targeting the removal of 100 million single use plastic items per year, Qantas will replace 45 million plastic cups, 30 million cutlery sets, 21 million coffee cups and 4 million headrest covers with sustainable alternatives by the end of 2020.

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,” Alan Joyce said.

We support you Qantas. Well done!