How much waste does the airline industry generate in a year? According to a report by the International Air Transport Association, in 2016 alone, flyers generated a whopping 5.2 million tons of waste.
This is equivalent to the amount of waste that the entire city of Mumbai generates in a span of two years, and uncontrolled, this could go up to 10 million tonnes of waste by 2030.
While the airline industry may have been exempted from the plastic ban, a few Indian carriers are consciously driving change by taking new steps towards a greener tomorrow.
Some of these Indian airlines including Vistara, Jet Airways and GoAir are switching to eco-friendly alternatives like biodegradable cutlery to cut down on plastic waste.
Speaking to The Times of India, a Vistara spokesperson said that the use of plastic onboard is ‘minimal’ and early this month, the airline pledged to further halve plastic use. The measures they are undertaking to ensure this include replacing plastic casseroles with aluminium dishes, plastic straws and stirrers with paper or wooden ones, and disposable bowls in economy class with reusable ones.
Following suit, Jet Airways is also using paper cups, biodegradable bags, and insulated boxes for hot and cold items.
Among the low-cost carriers in India, GoAir too has pledged its commitment to the plastic ban.
“We now serve food and beverages that do not require the use of plastic cutlery. All banned plastic items have been removed from our aircraft. We are working towards extending this initiative countrywide,” a GoAir spokesperson told TOI.
The report also adds that Air India, the flag carrier airline of India, is soon switching plastic cups with bone china cups on all economy class domestic flights, except the ones operated by ATR aircraft.
It is indeed commendable that the airline industry is actively taking steps to cut down on plastic waste. We hope several other carriers replicate these greener initiatives in the long run!
Only last month, a Mumbaikar shed light on the state of food wastage on a single flight after he collected over 70 burger buns, 50 butter pockets and 30 chocolates with the help of flight attendants. He also made sure that this uneaten food was distributed among children and grown-ups who struggle for a square meal. Read more about his story here.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)