A Hifly A340 just completed a new first… a flight without using plastic at all.
Now, this might not seem like a huge occasion, but it’s actually rather difficult for a normal airline to operate without using up plastic. Plastic cups, plastic spoon, knife, and fork. Even plastic wrapping around the food. An average flight uses up to 350kg of plastic material, most of which is thrown away.
HiFly has long been a proponent of saving the world’s oceans, going as far as to pain their A380 with a ‘Save the coral reefs’ livery.
“This historic Hi Fly flight, without any single-use plastic items on board, underlines our commitment to making Hi Fly the world’s first ‘plastics-free’ airline within 12 months. We take that commitment very seriously.” – HiFly President Paulo Mirpuri
How did they do it?
For a series of trips from Lisbon to Natal, Brazil, for tour operator Alto Astral, HiFly plans to completely eliminate using disposable plastics. They are doing this by replacing items such as cups, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, sick bags, packaging for bedding, dishes, individual butter pots, soft drink bottles, and toothbrushes.
Anything that needs to be disposable will be made out of a biodegradable material that will be sent to compost after the flight. This includes using bamboo cutlery and plates.
“HiFly has long been the leader in the field of corporate environmental responsibility and sustainability, and they have rightly identified, as a key objective, the early elimination of plastics pollution. It’s been great for us to see how, in practical terms, they have gone about replacing so much in order to kick-start this elimination process.”
HiFly aims to make their entire fleet plastics free by the end of 2019, a worthy mission in our books.
“Over 100,000 flights take off each day around the world and, last year, commercial aircraft carried nearly four billion passengers. This number is expected to double again in less than 20 years. So, the potential to make a difference here is clearly enormous.”
Of course, the next mission is to have a flight that is entirely carbon neutral, a hard task considering how pollutive air travel actually is. One such airline that might be the first to reach this goal is Easyjet, who plans to have all electric planes in the late future.
Speaking of emissions, it’s rather ironic as the plane that HiFly is operating on the route, the A340, is quite the gas guzzler. With four engines it is one of the least fuel-efficient aircraft in the world.
What do you think? Should airlines go plastic free? Let us know in the comments.