Did you know that every year, airlines produce over 5 million tones of waste due to single-use plastics used onboard? That’s a ton of trash that harms the environment. As a result, airlines are making conscientious moves to be more eco-friendly, whether it’s swapping out older airplanes for more fuel-efficient ones or reducing cabin waste. Some of the largest carriers such as SAS, Etihad, Air New Zealand, Qantas and Singapore Airlines are the ones who are making drastic changes—from ending onboard duty-free to using no plastic whatsoever. Let’s take a look at what these airlines are doing in order to be more sustainable.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is doing two things to reduce waste. One is using less single-use plastics and two, using AI technology to track passengers consumption and adjust meals so that at the end of the flight. Consequently, little to no food will end up in the trash. Moreover, Singapore Airlines is also working to use environmentally-friendly ingredients to create better meals that will not only be better for the Earth from where they are sourced, but also for the passengers who consume the cuisine onboard.


By 2022, Etihad pledges to reduce single-plastic waste by 80 percent. In order to do this, the airline has made some changes, using coffee cups that can be eaten, blankets made from plastic that’s been recycled, toothpaste in the form of tablets instead of tubes, and environmentally-friendly amenity kits. Even kids were provided toys made from sustainable materials.

Scandinavian Airlines

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is on a mission to reduce fuel by 25 percent by not only switching out the older airplanes with more fuel-efficient ones but also removing onboard duty-free shopping. By removing the extra weight brought on by duty-free products, the airline can save on needing additional fuel.

SAS is also working on using biofuel instead of fossil fuels to power their jets, another step forward into reducing CO2 emissions. At the same time, SAS has partnered with Airbus to create an electric-powered plane.


Qantas is the first airline to completely eliminate single-use plastics on their flight, and in less than two years, its goal is to be 75 percent waste-free. In order to move towards this initiative, Qantas is only using items that can either be recycled, composted or reused such as tableware made from sugar and crop starch, and completely removing single-use condiment containers.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is also saying no to single-use plastics and yes to eco-friendly items like reusable dishes, cups made from plants and ones that can be recycled. Air New Zealand has also ceased offering condiment containers and mini water bottles (sorry, business class)—the airline will only use large water bottles to pour into passenger’s cups.

In an effort to better the world and save our planet, more and more airlines are encouraged to follow suit. How much do you agree with these changes?