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Etihad has become the first airline in the world to fly an ultra-long-haul flight completely free of single-use plastics.

Flight EY484 departed Abu Dhabi on 21 April, and landed on Earth Day, 22 April, in Brisbane. The airline had identified more than 95 single-use plastic products used across aircraft cabins, including toothbrushes, cart seals, cups, cutlery, dishes and headset bags, and replaced them with eco-friendly alternatives.

According to Tony Douglas, CEO of Etihad, the flight highlights the company’s commitment to reduce single-use plastic usage by 80 per cent across the organisation by 2023.

“There is a growing concern globally about the overuse of plastics which can take thousands of years to decompose. We discovered we could remove 27 million single-use plastic lids from our in-flight 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,” he said.

Douglas added that Etihad plans to remove 100 tonnes of single-use plastic from its in-flight service by the end of the year, and will do away with up to 20 per cent of such items on board by 1 June.

“We are making this promise not only for the environment but also for the wider community. Our guests and employees are largely responsible for facilitating this positive change, as they brought to our attention the effect plastics within our industry have on landfills, waterways and our oceans, contaminating our soil and water,” he said.

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