• Air New Zealand has committed to doubling the single-use plastic items removed from its flights. (Image: Airbus)
    Air New Zealand has committed to doubling the single-use plastic items removed from its flights. (Image: Airbus)

Air New Zealand will more than double the single-use plastic products it is cutting from its operations this year, from 24 million to almost 55 million items.

Changes include the removal of individual plastic water bottles from business premier and premium economy cabins, as well as its Works Deluxe Tasman and Pacific Island services with durations of less than five hours. The airline expects this will divert more than 460,000 bottles from landfill every year, and cut carbon emissions by more than 300,000 kilograms annually through reducing aircraft weight. Air New Zealand currently emitts 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 each year.

It will also replace individual plastic sauce packets with reusable dishes across the network by the end of October, saving around 200,000 plastic packets from landfill per year, and it will expand its use of plant-based coffee cups and recyclable water cups across its entire network, increasing the total number of replaced single use cups this year from 14.7 million to 44.5 million.

According to Anna Palairet, acting head of sustainability at Air New Zealand, the airline is focusing on cutting the amount of single-use plastic products purchased at source, due to the lack of composting infrastructure across the Tasman.

“Single-use plastic is a highly topical and visible issue for us and our customers, so we are pleased to be able to share this progress to celebrate Plastic Free July. 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.

“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,” she said.

The airline has already substituted or removed around 460,000 water bottles; 7.1 million stirrers; 260,000 toothbrushes; 260,000 eye mask wrappers; and 3000 straws per year.

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