Iberia to Reduce up to 200,000 Kilos of Plastic From Flights During 2023
Iberia has removed single-use plastic bags, wrappers and containers from their onboard service. Last year, the carrier recycled 43 percent of onboard waste, around 62 tons, and incorporated a selection of glassware as part of their Zero Cabin Waste project.
On Tuesday (May 16, 2023), Iberia announced that they will eliminate 200,000 kilos of plastic waste from flights for 2023. Last year, the carrier removed single-use plastic bags, wrappers and containers from their onboard service, resulting in the recycling of 43 percent of onboard waste or 62 tons of this material. As part of the company’s Zero Cabin Waste project, Iberia also incorporated a selective collection of onboard glassware. During 2023, the airline estimates that the reduction of plastics onboard will reach 200 tons. This is possible through the substitution of plastic cutlery, stirrers and straws with more sustainable options such as bamboo and paper, and by replacing plastic bags wrapping linens and duvets with a cardboard band. Iberia has also eliminated plastic packaging for headphones, the children’s kit and some toiletry bag items. Thinner plastic bags are also used during aircraft cleaning tasks, and this year the carrier will replace plastic cups and some food wrappers with more sustainable alternatives.
The reduction of plastic onboard has also been complemented by similar initiatives on the ground. For example, in the Premium Lounges at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, cans and plastic containers have been replaced by glassware. Additionally, Iberia has asked suppliers to prioritize bulk over individually packaged items for some products. Thanks to these measures, waste has been removed by nearly one million cans and 200,000 plastic containers annually. Iberia’s Zero Cabin Waste project was launched in 2019 in cooperation with Ecoembes, Ferrovial Services and ESCI-UPF and others. In order to implement the program, Iberia compartmentalized carts, allowing for the separation of plastic containers, cans, paper and cardboard from glass and the rest of the waste. This way, the waste is already separated on flights arriving in Madrid, and is then subsequently removed by the waste manager and recycled.
All of these initiatives are part of Iberia’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable development goals, specifically compliance with SDG 12 ‘Responsible Production and Consumption.’ In terms of environmental sustainability, Iberia has implemented other actions aimed at SDG 13 ‘Climate Action’, with projects that reduce fuel use and emissions. Some examples include a fleet renewal program which replaces older aircraft with new generation airplanes that are 15-25 percent more efficient, and the replacement of magazines with digital versions. These efforts have made it possible for the company to reduce weight and CO2 emissions by approximately 615 tons per year. Iberia has also introduced new tools for the work of technical and cabin crews that reduce the use of paper onboard and the weight of flights, among others.