Air New Zealand has diverted more than 890 tonnes of in-flight waste from landfill, as a part of its glass recycling and product use waste reduction initiative, the Green Project.

Project Green was launched in 2017 and aims to redirect unused items from flight services from going to landfill, to be put onto another flight, providing they are sealed and untouched. More than 40 item types are covered by this project such as drink cans, biscuit packets, boxed tea, coffee and sugar sachets and sealed napkins. 

This movement was made possible through a collaboration of Air New Zealand, LSG Sky Chefs and the country’s Ministry of Primary Industries.

Chloe Surridge, General Manager of Supply Chain for Air New Zealand said, “Project Green is a very good example of the steps Air New Zealand is taking to build sustainability into its supply chain. We are looking to make impactful sustainability gains, and in order to do this, we have to enable those bigger conversations through relationships with our suppliers and business partners.”

Prior to this project launch, unopened items would have had to be incinerated. To date, Project Green has led to the airline recovering 85 tonnes of water bottles, an excess of 11.5 million plastic glasses and more than 4 million sugar sticks. 

Surridge highlighted that as well as reducing waste to landfill, the data the airline has captured can lead to the business being able to assess flight loading requirements and find other opportunities to reduce waste at the source. 

She continued, “We are also working on ways to further segregate the waste that is collected inflight (for example soft plastics and compostables). A major challenge we face, however, in reducing waste to landfill, is the lack of recycling and composting infrastructure available for us to send our material to. More robust infrastructure across the country, including in the regions, would help us keep compostables and recyclables out of landfills.”

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