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British Airways British Airways

BA Targets to Remove Quarter of a Million Single-Use Plastic Items by End of Year

British Airways (BA) recently announced a new target to remove more than 700 tonnes of single-use plastic on board its flights during this year, amounting to more than a quarter of a billion individual items of plastic and equivalent to more than 30,000 suitcases full of single-use plastic, even more than the number of bags customers check in with the airline at Heathrow on an average day.

The airline has already rolled out initiatives to remove 25 million individual items of single-use plastic on board each year, equivalent to 90 tonnes, and has now set itself an ambitious target to increase this by more than 700 percent.

British Airways has been working closely with its suppliers to identify alternatives to single-use plastic items, and this year it will replace as many as possible with recyclable or re-usable items or items from sustainable sources.

To date, the airline has achieved the following plastic reductions:

• Swapped plastic stirrers with bamboo alternatives
• Reduced plastic packaging on Club World amenity kits
• Swapped plastic wrapping for all bedding and blankets for paper wrapping
• Removed plastic wrapping on headsets and instead placed these inside paper charity envelopes in World Traveller cabins
• Water bottles on board are made from 50 percent recycled plastic
• Removed inflight retail plastic bags

The target also includes finding alternatives to single-use plastic cutlery, tumblers, cups, toothpicks and butter packaging on board. The airline described the process of making these changes as complex, with a significant amount of research required to ensure that the alternative products sourced are credibly sustainable, offer the same hygiene levels as their plastic counterparts and do not outweigh the items they replace.