Qantas announces plans to reduce plastic, other waste by 75%

Image Source: Qantas. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Qantas Group staff

The Qantas Group anounced Thursday that it plans to reuse, recycle and compost at least three quarters of it’s waste by the end of 2021 – an airline first.

According to a Qantas press release, Qantas and Jetstar create 30,000 tonnes of waste in Australia, will remove 100 million single-use plastic items every year from flights and lounges, and introduce a new initiative for Frequent Flyer members that voluntarily carbon offset.

In the statement Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce said, “In the process of carrying 50 million people each year, we deal with more than 30,000 tonnes of waste. That’s the same weight as about eighty 747 jumbos. It is quite literally a waste and we have a responsibility to our customers, shareholders and the community to reduce it. We’ve already removed plastic wrapping on our pyjamas and headsets, as well as plastic straws. Even plastic Frequent Flyer cards are going digital. It adds up to millions of items a year because of our scale and there’s a lot more we can do.”

Some examples of other changes that will be made across the Group this year include:

  • Introducing coffee cups that can be recycled or composted.
  • Effectively eliminating single-use plastics by switching to alternative packaging.
  • Removing unnecessary paper, such as boarding passes and operational manuals, by going digital.
  • Increasing donation or composting of food.
  • Recycling of old uniforms.

The Group will also replace 45 million plastic cups, 30 million cutlery sets, 21 million coffee cups and 4 million headrest covers with sustainable alternatives by end-2020.

The target is seperate to targets relating to fuel, water and electricity.

From mid 2019 Frequent Flyer members will receive 10 points for every dollar they spend carbon offsetting their flights when booking through the Qantas website.

The announcement came the same day that Qantas released it’s 1st half earnings for 2019. The Group recorded an underlying profit of $A780 million ($US553 million, £453.5 million, €487.5 million) with a statutory profit of $735 million ($US521 million, £399 million, €459.37 million). This is a drop of $A179 million ($US126.88 million, £97 million, €111.85 million) on last years underling profit, while fuel bills have increased by $A416 million ($US294.71 million, £225.64 million, €260 million) over the same time period.

Figures from Qantas:

  • Underlying Profit Before Tax: $780 million (down $179 million)
  • Statutory Profit Before Tax: $735million (down $105 million)
  • Fuel cost: $2.0billion (up $416 million)
  • Group Domestic profit: $659 million
  • Group International profit: $90 million
  • Qantas Loyalty: $175 million

The Qantas Group comprises of Qantas, Jetstar and QantasLink.