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The avi­a­tion in­dus­try has long been seen as the world cham­pion of global warm­ing. Notwith­stand­ing ef­forts and re­ports from

IATA, the evo­lu­tion of air­craft with more fu­el­ef­fi­cient en­gines and bet­ter qual­ity stan­dards, the idea that fly­ing should be either re­duced or off­set is still sug­gested by many in the me­dia. This would cause sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic is­sues, es­pe­cially for air­lines – many of which are strug­gling to make ends meet. Still, there is some­thing car­ri­ers could do to re­duce their car­bon foot­print. I have re­cently flown do­mes­ti­cally in Aus­tralia with Qan­tas and in Eu­rope with the Lufthansa Group. On all but one oc­ca­sion, rub­bish was man­aged im­prop­erly. Flight at­ten­dants col­lected ev­ery­thing in one bin with­out con­sid­er­a­tions for plas­tic, glass or pa­per.

Wit­ness­ing this made me think, “where does all this end up?” Either ev­ery­thing is dis­posed of with­out any re­cy­cling ef­fort or the rub­bish is sep­a­rated on the ground by ded­i­cated staff. The first would be tan­ta­mount to a pub­lic of­fence; the sec­ond is fool­ish, from both an eco­nomic and an image point of view. It is a shame that at least a bit of re­cy­cling ef­fort is not done on-board.

While lob­by­ing the in­dus­try is cru­cial and tech­no­log­i­cal up­grades are needed, what is dis­played in front of pas­sen­gers is price­less, too, and air­lines would do well to pay more at­ten­tion to it. Marco Morelli, Rome


We take our en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity se­ri­ously. In 2017, more than 4,000 tonnes of waste was re­cy­cled and we’ve rolled out on-board re­cy­cling on our main­line do­mes­tic fleet. We’re look­ing at how we can in­tro­duce re­cy­cling on smaller re­gional air­craft, which are con­strained by the size of the air­craft. We also part­ner with a char­ity that will col­lect non-per­ish­able food items from air­craft meals to be dis­trib­uted to schools and those in need.

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