Etihad Airways - Earth Day - Single-use plastic

Etihad Airways operates single-use plastic-free flight on Earth Day

Jennifer Weitbrecht
1 picture
2 minutes

The food, drink, blankets, toothbrushes and other items used in-flight create mountains of single-use plastic. Etihad pointed the way on 22 April “Earth Day”: its flight to Brisbane was operated without any single-use plastics on board.

Symbolic Etihad flight operated without single-use plastics 

The campaign was initiated in a bid to raise awareness and challenge consumer behaviour, as well as drawing attention to the growing problem of worldwide plastic pollution. 

For the very first time, no single-used plastic, including crockery and cutlery, was used in-flight. Having said that, and to the delight of passengers, there were a number of replacement products: edible coffee cups, sustainably produced amenity bags, environmentally-friendly toys and blankets made of recycled plastic bottles. 

No single-use plastic – no exception

Only one aircraft? Nothing more than pure marketing hype? Undoubtedly marketing also played a key role in this but this change is intended to go much further than just this one flight. Etihad, as a company, has set itself long-term targets and pledges to reduce single-use plastic usage by 80 per cent by 2022. But the Arab company wants to go even further. This target will apply to all flights and across the entire organisation as well! 

Ambitious target – major impact

Etihad’s target is an ambitious one but, strictly speaking, is long overdue for the entire air transportation industry. Etihad identified over 95 different single-use plastic products used in its own aircraft cabins. That all mounts up and ultimately equates to some 50 kilogrammes of plastic waste per flight that needs to be disposed of at the destination airport.

Gradual transition to single-use plastic-free flights

As positive as it sounds, a complete transition is regrettably impossible overnight. Having said that, the company is committed to reducing single-use plastic usage on board by 20 per cent by 1 June 2019. According to Etihad’s calculations, by the end of this year, these measures alone will have saved 100 tonnes of plastic waste … 

Etihad: at the forefront in sustainable flying

It is not the first time that Etihad has attracted attention for its sustainability efforts. We had already reported that the airline is also seriously committed to the use of biofuel. An Etihad flight took off in mid-January 2019 powered for the first time by biofuel obtained from plants growing in a salt water plantation. The flight on “Earth Day” was also fuelled by this innovative biofuel. 

Main image – Source: NextNewMedia /

by Jennifer Weitbrecht

Related Posts