Airlines have often been attacked for their environmental impact regarding climate change. An often overlooked fact is that on each flight, there is also a significant amount of single-use plastic on board.
Recently, Airlines have started to respond to the increasing awareness on the topic. Etihad Airways is one such Airline. On 22 April, which is also World Earth Day, the Airline conducted a flight with no single-use plastics on board. According to airline officials, this required to replace 95 different single-use plastic items.
In a commitment, Etihad announced their goal to reduce the use of single-use plastic by 80% by the end of 2022. Etihad is not the only airline that tackles plastic usage on their flights. Ryanair, the Irish low-budget airline aims to remove all single-use plastic by 2023.
Reactions to the airlines’ announcements are mixed. On the one hand, observers welcome the reduction on plastic as a helpful initiative. On the other hand, comments have been made that airlines need to significantly step up their efforts to further reduce their footprint on the environment.