BA reveals new target to remove items of single-use plastic from flights

British Airways has set a new target to remove more than 700 tonnes of single-use plastic on board its flights this year.

This amounts to more than a quarter of a billion individual items of plastic and equivalent to more than 30,000 suitcases full of single-use plastic.

“This is even more than the number of bags customers check in with the airline at Heathrow on an average day,” a statement issued by the Airline said.

The airline has already rolled out initiatives to remove 25 million individual items of single-use plastic on board each year, equivalent to 90 tonnes, and has now set itself an ambitious target to increase this by more than 700 per cent.

British Airways has been working closely with its suppliers to identify alternatives to single-use plastic items, and this year it will replace as many as possible with recyclable or re-usable items or items from sustainable sources.

According to the statement to date, the airline had achieved the following, “Plastic reductions: Swapped plastic stirrers with bamboo alternatives, reduced plastic packaging on Club World amenity kits, swapped plastic wrapping for all bedding and blankets for paper wrapping, removed plastic wrapping on headsets and instead placed these inside paper charity envelopes in World Traveller cabins.” 

The rest are water bottles on board made from 50 per cent recycled plastic and removed in-flight retail plastic bags 

The target also includes finding alternatives to single-use plastic cutlery, tumblers, cups, toothpicks and butter packaging on board.

The airline described the process of making these changes as complex, with a significant amount of research required to ensure that the alternative products sourced are credibly sustainable, offer the same hygiene levels as their plastic counterparts and do not outweigh the items they replace.

Kate Tanner, British Airways’Customer Experience Manager said: “Our customers have told us that they want to see these changes and we’re pleased to have made real strides in our journey to becoming more sustainable.”

“We’ve spent a long time researching how to make sustainable changes without causing environmental impact elsewhere. For instance, we are looking at the amount of water and detergent needed to wash metal cutlery and how often it needs to be replaced versus using plastic or bamboo cutlery,” she said

“We’ve looked at how we ensure blankets and other items can be kept clean without a plastic covering and the lifespan of all the new items compared to the existing ones. Some potential replacement options may be heavier, which would then have an impact on the weight of the aircraft and therefore on our emissions, so we must ensure we are making the right choices on all replacements,” she said.


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