Air New Zealand plan to remove around 55 million plastic items from flights


Air New Zealand will be taking a strong stance in opposition to plastic waste by no longer using water bottles for ‘Plastic Free July’.

The airline recently made a heavily criticized decision to remove all newspapers from their Koru lounges, and now they have decided to put plastic on the chopping block.

It was announced on Monday that the airline company will more than double its reduction of single-use plastics, taking it from 24 million items to approximately 55 million this year.

They initiated the plastic-free initiative at the end of 2018, at the time replacing five single-use plastic products – water cups, cheese plates and lids, coffee cups and lids  – with environmentally-friendly “lower impact alternatives”.

Throughout July, the airline are going to remove individual plastic water bottles from a many of they flights, which they say will keep more than 460,000 bottles from reaching landfill sites, and will also reduce carbon emissions by over 300,000kg, due to the reduced weight on planes.

They will be rolling out environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as plant-based cups, to services later in the year.

Air NZ’s acting head of sustainability Anna Palairet said:

“The lack of composting infrastructure available in New Zealand is a challenge so we have been focused on reducing the amount of single-use plastic products we purchase in the first place” 

Wellington City Council announced a ban on ‘compostable’ packaging, with all items now being dumped in landfill.

Palairet added:

“It’s great to see more and more customers are bringing their reusable drink bottles and keep cups on board, and we encourage people to do this – our cabin crew team is happy to fill these.”

For many years, the airline has been viewed as “green” and hailed for its sustainability efforts.