It can get to be a bit overwhelming – if not mortifying – when you start becoming conscious of how much single-use plastic is in use every day. Once awareness has been raised you notice the single use plastics across most aspects of everyday life. Most of us want to reduce this usage through changes to our everyday habits and adopt more green practices, we are also cognisant that air travel is highly eco-unfriendly.
Etihad have recently done their bit to address this challenge. In a bid to raise awareness about pollution on Earth Day and the ongoing commitment to reduce plastic pollution and landfill, Etihad has become the first airline in the Gulf region to operate a long-haul flight – the banning of single-use plastic. The flight from Abu Dhabi to Brisbane – was operated without any single-use plastics on board. This is the first test flight of what will be many for the airline and it proves that it’s possible to make sustainable changes on long haul flights.
Among the green changes were sustainable amenity kits, eco-plush toys for kids, eco-thread blankets and edible coffee cups. All cups, cutlery, dishes, headset bags, cart seals and toothbrushes were also replaced with cleaner alternatives.
This plastic-free flight is part of Etihad’s commitment to reduce single-use plastic usage by 80 per cent not just in-flight, but across the entire organisation – on the ground and in the air – by the end of 2022!
The removal of 95 single-use plastic products are used across its aircraft cabins prevented over 50 kilograms of plastics from being used as landfill. In addition to this plastic-free flight Etihad has additionally committed to removing up to 20 per cent of the single-use plastic items on board by June 1, 2019. This initiative will deliver – by the end of this year -the removal of 100 tonnes of single-use plastics from Etihad’s inflight service.
Etihad was the second airline to operate an entirely green service after Portugal’s Hi Fly flew the world’s first single-use plastic-free flight from Lisbon to Natal in Brazil over Boxing Day last year.
There have been announcements from many other airlines around the world committing to be plastic-free or significantly reducing their usage in the coming years. The trend is encouraging and hopefully, other major airlines, travel companies and broader industries will follow suit.