In my pre-blogger days, I spent way too much time on airlines and always wondered about what the airlines do with their waste. Sometimes they collect the cans and newspapers separately, sometimes they don’t. I have asked flight attendents not to give me the paper napkin, they do anyway, I have asked them to just put water in my water bottle, sometimes they do, but mostly they don’t.
I have told them, I am a tree-hugger, of course you get eye rolls- hopefully with this article airlines will start to do something!
I Just Gotta Tell Ya:
- 75% of in-flight generated waste is recycable, only 20% gets recycled.
- Airlines throw away 9,000 tons of plastic and enough aluminum case to build 58 Boeing 747 jets, enough newspapers and mags to cover a football fied 230 meters deep.
That said, I found this report: New Airline Recycling Rankings: United and US Airways Flunk, While Delta, Virgin and Southwest Get Best Grades, According to ResponsibleShopper.org. very interesting.
US Airlines Generate Over 880 Million Tons of Waste Annually — 75 Percent of Which Could Be Recycled … But Only 20 Percent Is; Consumers Urged to Factor Recycling Policies Into Air Travel Decisions.
Which airlines are taking steps to reduce the vast amount of waste generated each year by the industry? Delta, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Southwest are doing the best job, according to the new report “What Goes Up Must Go Down: The Sorry State of Recycling in the Airline Industry” from Green America’s consumer watchdog Web site ResponsibleShopper.org (http://www.ResponsibleShopper.org). The report also shows that United and US Airways are doing the worst job when it comes to recycling.
Overall, airlines could recycle nearly 500 million more tons of waste each year (including 250 million tons of in-flight waste). While airlines acknowledge the importance of recycling waste, no airline recycles all the major recyclables: aluminum cans, glass, plastic, and paper. No airline has a comprehensive program for minimizing or composting food waste or waste from snack packages, provides good public information about their recycling program, or reports out on progress in relation to any stated goals. In addition, all airlines provide over-packaged snacks and meals and none of the airlines are working with manufacturers to reduce this waste.
The Green America airline recycling rankings are (from best to worst): Delta Airlines, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest Airlines, Continental Airlines, Jet Blue, American Airlines, British Airways, Air Tran, United Airlines, and US Airways.
Green America Responsible Shopper Lead Researcher Victoria Kreha said: “For concerned consumers looking to spend their travel dollars wisely, airline waste may be the ultimate example of ‘what goes up must come down.’ The good news is that airlines are starting to pay attention to recycling; the bad news is that they have a long way to go to improve the situation. Fortunately, airlines can overcome any of the challenges to creating in-flight recycling programs, including employee education and involvement, knowledge of the type of waste produced, and a time- and space-efficient system.”
Green America Corporate Responsibility Director Todd Larsen said: “While airlines may face some challenges in creating effective recycling programs, evidence shows that working systems can be implemented. Our report demonstrates that several airlines are significantly ahead of their competitors in taking these steps, and it is clear that comprehensive recycling programs can be implemented effectively and economically.”
The report looks at five areas: variety in waste recycled, future in-flight recycling plans, size of in-flight recycling program, education/encouragement of employees in onboard recycling programs, other in-flight sustainability initiatives, and provides overall rankings. Industry-wide ResponsibleShopper.org finds that there is room for tremendous improvement and no airline received higher than a B- grade overall.
The full Airline recycling report is available at http://www.greenamericatoday.org/go/AirlineRecyclingReport/ Contact information for all of the airlines is available in the report for passengers wishing to contact airlines to request that they improve their recycling practices.
ResponsibleShopper (http://www.responsibleshopper.org) informs concerned consumers about problematic corporate practices, action campaigns and ways to live greener in relation to more than 150 major consumer companies. ResponsibleShopper.org ranks companies in 27 industry categories from best to worst based on research focusing on such key issues as human rights, social justice, environmental sustainability and more. Major consumer companies ranked by ResponsibleShopper.org include such brand-name corporations as McDonalds, WalMart, Coca Cola, Disney, Hanes, and General Electric.
Companies are listed and ranked on ResponsibleShopper.org in the following categories: agribusiness; airlines; appliances; athletic wear; automobiles; banking/financial; beauty and body care; beverage/water; big box retailers; big pharma; booksellers; chemicals; cleaning products; clothing; coffee; computer/electronics; department stores; electric utilities; electronics; fast food; food; gas/oil; home improvement/building; Internet; mass media (TV, radio, film); supermarkets; tires; tobacco; and toys/games.
ABOUT GREEN AMERICA
Green America (www.GreenAmericaToday.org) is the nation’s leading green economy organization, advancing marketplace solutions for our country’s most serious social and environmental problems. Green America harnesses economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to grow the green economy, stop corporate abuse, curb climate change, and help people and businesses everywhere make economic choices that are good for people and the planet.
SOURCE Green America/ResponsibleShopper.org, Washington, D.C.