British Airways accelerates plans to reduce single-use plastics by more than 700%

Feb 26, 2020

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Alongside plans to become a zero carbon emissions airline by 2050, the U.K.’s flag carrier has ambitions plans to remove around 700 tonnes of single-use plastic by the end of 2020. Wednesday’s announcement of single-use reduction is a staggering 700% increase in BA‘s previous annual target of 90 tonnes per year.

In total, 700 tonnes equates to around a quarter of a billion single-use plastic items.

Artist Sarah Turner pictured putting together sculpture of suitcase with plastic waste (Photo courtesy British Airways)

The airline says it has been working closely with suppliers through a complex process of sourcing credibly sustainable new products, which must not outweigh or be less hygienic than the plastic ones they replace.

Related reading: 5 tips for travelling more sustainably

“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”, said Kate Tanner, British Airways‘ customer experience manager. “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”.

One of the main — and possibly most challenging — targets of the initiative is to replace all plastic cutlery, tumblers, cups, toothpicks and butter packaging on board all aircraft.

Related reading: Everything you need to know about carbon offsetting for your flights

According to a spokesperson, the airline as already achieved several of its sustainability plans, including replacing plastic stirrers with bamboo versions. Plastic bedding wrappers are also in the process of being replaced with paper in all cabin classes.

Other airlines are also making similar changes in the name of sustainability, such as Virgin Atlantic, which recently upgraded to super sustainable “goodie bags” as its amenity kits.

Featured photo courtesy British Airways.

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