We continue to identify opportunities to reduce waste and improve recycling by using high-quality data. We launched a partnership with Topolytics in 2022, utilising the platform to further improve our waste data collection, reporting and visualisation. The system makes it easier for us to track waste performance at site level and identify opportunities to improve recycling rates and reduce carbon emissions.
As well as increasing engagement with colleagues to improve recycling and the re-use of products, we also have over 100 crew colleagues who are War on Waste Champions. They act as experts in reducing and recycling onboard waste and we’re working towards increasing the size of this network across our airline.
Of waste recyled
Single Use Plastic
We’re committed to reducing single-use plastics (SUP) throughout our operation and are working closely with suppliers to identify sustainable alternatives, like bamboo and paper where possible. Small changes, such as swapping plastic stirrers with bamboo alternatives, have saved 45 tonnes of plastic a year. From removing plastic bags from blankets to introducing amenity kits and duvets made from recycled plastic, we’re continuing to find innovative solutions that are better for the environment.
General Waste Reduction Initiatives
Plastic wrapping removed from WTP blankets
We removed plastic wrapping from our World Traveller Plus blankets, replacing it with FSC certified paper bands, removing 20 tonnes of SUP a year.
Plastic cutlery removed in WT
We removed plastic cutlery in our World Traveller cabins as part of EU legislation, replacing it with birchwood which saves 120 tonnes of SUP a year.
Water taps in lounges
We installed new Brita water taps in our Heathrow lounges, helping us save approximately 1 million glass bottles a year.
More sustainable alternatives to packaging in British Airways Distribution Centres
We successfully trialled more sustainable alternatives to SUP packaging that replace plastic packing tape and plastic gloves, which are now being used in our distribution centres.
Reducing food waste reduces pressure on natural resources, water supplies and land where food is grown, as well as cutting greenhouse gas emissions from production, transportation and disposal.
We’re working to influence international policy and regulation to allow more sustainable ways to divert food waste from landfill and incineration.
Cat 1 IATA joint statement
A significant obstacle to preventing airlines from recycling or donating waste food is the legislation on International Catering Waste. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which has previously commissioned an investigation into the risks of cabin food waste, found that there is negligible risk to either human or animal health. We’re actively engaging other airlines on this issue and have recently signed a joint statement which advises that the European Commission undertake a risk assessment of International Catering Waste rules. The adoption of a smarter International Catering Waste (ICW) regulation would result in less cabin waste, more material recovery and improved customer satisfaction.
Circular economy principles
We are constantly looking for opportunities across our supply chain to refine our product specifications, to keep our resources in use for as long as possible through innovative product design and to re-use and recycle through partnerships with our suppliers.
We’ve increased our portfolio of sustainable products onboard:
- Toast Ale, a beer made from surplus bread.
- PlayinChoc (dairy, nut, gluten and plastic-free packaging chocolate) and Scrapples (crisps made from wonky fruit that would have gone to landfill).(Short-haul only).
We launched our new uniform, designed with sustainability in mind:
- More than 90% of the garments are produced using sustainable fabric from blends of recycled polyester. As part of our commitment to work with sustainable suppliers, we’re only working with manufacturers that are members of the ‘Better Cotton’ initiative – the world’s leading sustainability initiative for cotton, whose mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive while protecting and restoring the environment.