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The World's First Zero-Waste Flight Soared Across Australian Skies This Week

Flying from Adelaide to Sydney, 34 kilograms of waste were saved.
By Sarah Ward
May 11, 2019
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The World's First Zero-Waste Flight Soared Across Australian Skies This Week

Flying from Adelaide to Sydney, 34 kilograms of waste were saved.
By Sarah Ward
May 11, 2019
  shares

So far this year, Qantas has committed to phase out 100 million disposable items from 2020 onwards — and it's not done with the war on waste yet. This week, it took to the Aussie skies to notch up another milestone: the first zero-waste plane journey.

On Wednesday, May 8, the carrier flew from Sydney to Adelaide. That's hardly news, but this flight removed or replaced around one thousand single-use plastic items. Sustainable alternatives were found where possible, and if an eco-friendly version couldn't be sourced, the relevant objects simply weren't included as part of the journey.

Teaming up with packaging company BioPak, the airline used fully cups made from plant matter, food containers made from leftover sugar cane pulp, cutlery made from starch sourced from non-genetically modified crops and compostable napkins. It also ditched individually-packaged servings of milk and Vegemite — and collected all packaging for reuse, recycling or composting.

At the airport, travellers boarding the flight also used digital boarding passes and electronic bag tags. If that wasn't possible, staff were on hand to ensure that any paper passes and tags were disposed of sustainably. To eliminate the journey's carbon footprint as well, the flight was 100 percent carbon offset.

In total, 34 kilograms of waste were saved — with Qantas noting that the route usually creates around 150 tonnes of waste each year.

The move comes as part of a widespread push to drastically reduce waste across the air travel industry, which has been gathering significant steam over the past year. In addition to Qantas' efforts, Portuguese charter carrier Hi Fly is aiming to become the world's first no-plastics carrier within the next 12 months, and Etihad flew the world's first long-haul flight free of the pesky products into Australia last month.

Published on May 11, 2019 by Sarah Ward

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