Etihad Airways commemorates Earth Day with single-use plastic-free flight

Etihad Airways commemorates Earth Day with single-use plastic-free flight

April 26, 2019
Press Release: Etihad Airways

Etihad says it is committed to improving its environmental policies beyond the Earth Day flight, pledging to reduce single-use plastic usage by 80% across the entire organisation by the end of 2022

The national airline of the United Araba Emirates (UAE), Etihad Airways, was this week the first airline in the region to operate a flight without any single-use plastics on board, in a bid to raise awareness of the effects of plastic pollution. Flight EY484 departed Abu Dhabi on 21 April, landing in Brisbane on Earth Day (22 April).

“Sustainable and efficient transport is core to the government’s vision, and we commend Etihad’s proactivity in paving the way for sustainability and efficiency in air transportation,” commented H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport. “The investment in sustainable alternative fuels and the focus on emerging environmental concerns such as plastic pollution reaffirms Etihad’s commitment to the Abu Dhabi transport vision.”

The milestone flight was part of Etihad’s ongoing commitment to the environment, to go beyond Earth Day celebrations, and pledge to reduce single-use plastic usage by 80% not just in-flight, but across the entire organization by the end of 2022.

Last year, the UN called for global action to beat plastic pollution, stating that 400 million tons of plastics are produced every year, 63% of which are intended for single-use. Governments around the world are starting to ban single-use plastics – something the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) advocates.

“There is a growing concern globally about the overuse of plastics which can take thousands of years to decompose,” stated Tony Douglas, group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group. “We discovered we could remove 27 million single-use plastic lids from our inflight service a year and, as a leading airline, it’s our responsibility to act on this, to challenge industry standards and work with suppliers who provide lower-impact alternatives.”

Buzz, Etihad’s current supplier of amenity products, are supporters of the project and have collaborated with the airline to provide sustainable amenity kits, eco-plush toys and award-winning eco-thread blankets. Buzz pioneered and produced the blankets out of recycled plastic bottles.

In some instances, the sustainable choice was easy. Etihad worked with suppliers to ensure products were not wrapped in single-use plastics. For others, more innovative products had to be sourced including Cupffee’s, which are edible coffee cups made entirely from natural grain products.

Etihad identified more than 95 single-use plastic products used across aircraft cabins, most of which were replaced with eco-friendly alternatives including cups, cutlery, dishes, headset bags, cart seals and toothbrushes. Once removed from this flight, Etihad prevented more than 50kg of plastics from being landfilled. Where suitable replacements could not be sourced, these items were not loaded.

As a result of planning the Earth Day flight, Etihad additionally committed to remove up to 20% of the single-use plastic items on board by 1 June 2019. Indeed, by the end of this year, Etihad will have removed 100 tons of single-use plastics from its inflight service.

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019 will take place from Thursday 27 June to Friday 28 June, at the Kap Europa, Frankfurt Messe, Frankfurt, Germany. To register for this highly focused and solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email peter@trans-globalevents.com

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