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Qantas targets 75 per cent cut in waste to landfill

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 21, 2019

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and chief financial officer Tino La Spina with Qantas and Jetstar staff.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and chief financial officer Tino La Spina with Qantas and Jetstar staff.

For those travellers who get a warm inner glow from having a shiny gold or platinum Qantas frequent flyer card in their pocket, your days may be numbered.

Similarly, passengers who hold onto their boarding passes as a record of their flight will soon have nothing to add to their physical collections the next time they get off an aircraft.

The reason? Qantas is phasing out plastic frequent flyer cards and removing unnecessary paper such as boarding passes and operational manuals as part of an initiative to cut waste that was announced on Thursday.

Described as a major environmental push, Qantas and its low-cost carrier (LCC) business Jetstar are aiming to cut the amount of waste they send to landfill by 75 per cent by the end of 2021.

Further, some 100 million single-use plastic items would be removed from its flights and premium passenger lounges by the end of 2020. Examples of this include replacing plastic wrapping on blankets, headphones, pens and pyjamas altogether or replacing them with suitable alternatives.

The airline is also changing some of its food packaging to more sustainable materials, such as cutlery sets, coffee cups, plastic cups and headrest covers.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the 75 per cent goal was the highest waste reduction target set by an airline in the world and went well beyond the recent European Union ban on single use plastics.


“Our boarding passes and crew manuals will be replaced with paper free alternatives, even plastic frequent flyer cards are going digital,” Joyce told reporters at the company’s 2018/19 first half results presentation on Thursday.

“Reducing our waste isn’t just the right thing to do it is good for business. It will take time, but we’re already starting. We’ll be asking our industry, regulators, customers and our people to help.”

[vc_gallery interval=”0″ images=”69604,69601,69600,69599,69602″ img_size=”750×420″ title=”A look at some of Qantas’s waste reduction initiatives”]


Qantas and its low-cost carrier (LCC) business Jetstar generated about 30,000 tonnes of waste in Australia annually from about 50 million passengers a year.

This was equivalent to the weight of about 80 Boeing 747s, Qantas said.

Meanwhile, Qantas said it would award frequent flyer points to passengers who chose to offset their carbon emissions on when booking a flight.

The airline will award 10 points for every dollar spent on carbon offset. The cost to offset a flight depended on the distance travelled.

The scheme was designed to increase the take-up of carbon neutral flying, Qantas said.

“Around 10 per cent of passengers already choose to offset their flights so we’re going that the added incentive of earning Qantas points helps boost this number,” Joyce said.

A supplied factsheet of the Qantas waste reduction program. (Qantas)
A supplied factsheet of the Qantas waste reduction program. (Qantas)

Comments (5)

  • SeeSure


    Great initiative QANTAS. Get your onboard staff to be less bored and more friendly and it will be a please to fly QANTAS again.

  • Bill


    I’m all for paper straws, but of the love God, please make sure they don’t fall apart half way through my drink!

  • Peter Wagggitt


    What at if I use the FF card as a cash card as well? And how will we get on board with no boarding pass if we have no smart phone? – still have to issue the paper slips at the gate I reckon. Cut the flight magazines and sales catalogues would make more sense – ah but that would lose advertising revenue……. Seems there are plenty of other wastes they could save first

  • Brendan Robertson


    I trust there will be a solution for senior citizens who may not have a smart phone, once the boarding pass vanishes

  • Adrian P


    Woolworth have just introduced food trays in the bakery/produce department made from compostable bamboo and sugarcane.

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