In unprecedented air transport history, Portuguese charter airline Hi Fly has become the first operator to ditch single-use plastics on board. Following four series of of ‘plastic-free’ trial flights from a 10-hour Lisbon to Brazil journey all carrying a total of 700 passengers, the wet-lease carrier aims to make their entire fleet plastic-free by the end of 2019.
Plastic cups, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, sick bags, wraps for bedding, dishes, individual butter pots, soft drink bottles and toothbrushes will be replaced by biodegradable materials – recycled paper packaging and bamboo cutlery – that can be readily composted after flights. Cutting out a whopping 350KG (about 770lbs) of plastic on just the probationary flights alone, the airline’s mission follows a bold and promising statement in the aviation industry to ensure their corporate practices matches their wider responsibilities to the planet.
“Over 100,000 flights take off each day around the world and last year, commercial aircraft carried nearly four billion passengers,” Hi Fly President Paulo Mirpuri said in a statement. “This number is expected to double again in less than 20 years. So, the potential to make a difference here is clearly enormous.”
The A380 fleet performs more than 300 commercial flights a day. Now in its 12th year of commercial service, Hi Fly has been an avid proponent in sustainability and plastic pollution. With active campaigns and initiatives aimed at raising awareness of marine conservation and plastic pollution, their 2017 campaign made headlines at the Volvo Ocean Race in support of the United Nations “Clean Seas” campaign by sponsoring the ‘Turn The Tide on Plastic’ yacht at the race, while simultaneously painting one of its A330s bearing the same message. The following year saw the ‘Save the Coral Reefs’ illuminated on their new Airbus A380 after pledging to become a plastic-free enterprise.
Awareness of the impact of plastic pollution hit an all-time high last year that saw many initiatives work together to ban single-use plastic. In Hong Kong, new low waste companies such as the Green Platters catering company is committed to fusing social and environmental sustainability with their artfully arranged grazing platters. The HK government has also launched free reusable tableware rentals for event organisers in a bid to combat plastic waste and single-use disposables.
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Image courtesy of Hi Fly