British Airways Declares Final Boarding For Single Use Plastics

British Airways has issued a final boarding call for millions of items of single-use plastic. In fact, by the end of the year, the British flag carrier aims to remove more than 700 tons of single-use plastic from its flights.

British Airways, Environment, Single use plastics
British Airways is looking to cut its single-use plastic usage. Photo: British Airways

Over recent years the environmental impact of flying has moved further and further into the spotlight. This is despite the aviation industry accounting for just 2.5% of global CO2 emissions. One of the avenues airlines have been exploring when increasing sustainability is the issue of single-use plastics. Now, British Airways is addressing its need for single-use plastics.

What is the airline doing?

British Airways has collaborated with its partners in order to determine how it can cut single-use plastics. As such, the airline will be looking to introduce recyclable or reusable items in the place of single-use plastics going forwards.

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So far, the British flag carrier has enacted the following changes:

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  • 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 (currently being rolled out across all cabins);
  • Removed plastic wrapping on headsets and instead placed these inside paper charity envelopes in World Traveller cabins;
  • Water bottles on board are made from 50% recycled plastic;
  • Removed inflight retail plastic bags.

More to be done

However, according to the airline, there is still more to be done. In fact, the airline is currently looking to find alternatives for a number of single-use items. These include plastic cutlery, tumblers, toothpicks and butter packaging.

British Airways, Environment, Single use plastics
British Airways also wants to cut plastic cutlery from flights. Photo: British Airways

In order to achieve these goals, British Airways has set up a dedicated team to look at the issue. The team, known as the War on Waste crew, is comprised of over 170 members of cabin crew. Their goal is to encourage sustainable practices at 36,000 feet, in addition to generating suggestions going forward.

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Customers want the changes

Speaking of the changes underway, 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”

British Airways, Environment, Single use plastics
Additionally, the airline commissioned a giant suitcase made from plastic waste. Photo: British Airways

Additionally, to celebrate its commitment to cutting down its dependence on single-use plastics, British Airways today revealed a huge symbolic suitcase. This was made from waste plastic generated onboard flights and, according to the airline, represents 30,000 23kg suitcases worth of plastic waste which it is removing from its operations.

What do you make of the airline’s commitment to cut single-use plastics? Is it a step in the right direction, or does more need to be done? Let us know your thoughts in the comments

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Mark Thompson

This is of course mere symbolism. They need to cease all flights to countries which have not reduced their carbon emissions by at least 10% over the last decade. Also need to go to an all coach layout to reduce the carbon footprint per passenger