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The big change you didn't know coming to your Qantas flight

The big change you didn't know coming to your Qantas flight

Qantas has debuted what has been touted as the world’s “first zero waste flight” in an initiative to slash waste and cut 100 million single-use plastics by the end of 2020.

Passengers travelling from Sydney to Adelaide on Wednesday were provided with recyclable water bottles, containers made from sugar cane and digital boarding passes as the Aussie airline marked the first stage of its plan to eliminate 75 per cent of its waste by the end of 2021.

Dubbed as “the first-ever commercial flight to produce no landfill waste”, the Wednesday QF739 flight replaced about 1,000 single-use plastic items with sustainable alternatives, including cutlery made from crop starch and coffee cups made from plant matter instead of oil.

Some items, such as mini milk sachets and individually packaged servings of Vegemite, were removed altogether.

“In the process of carrying over 50 million people every year, Qantas and Jetstar currently produce an amount of waste equivalent to 80 fully-laden Boeing 747 jumbo jets,” said Qantas Domestic CEO Andrew David.

“We want to give customers the same level of service they currently enjoy, but without the amount of waste that comes with it.”

The carrier said to reach the target, Qantas and Jetstar will replace 45 million plastic cups, 30 million cutlery sets, 21 million coffee cups and 4 million headrest covers with more environmentally friendly options.

David said while the initiative may incur initial expenses, it will not lead to airfare increases as the costs for waste disposal would be cut down.

Qantas is the latest air carrier to embark on waste reduction programs. In January, the world saw its first plastic-free flight from Portuguese airline Hi Fly, which took off from Lisbon to Natal, Brazil. Last month, Etihad also operated a long-haul plastic-free flight from Abu Dhabi to Brisbane on Earth Day in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution.