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Lufthansa Cargo Becomes World’s First Cargo Airline to Use More Sustainable Plastic Film

Lufthansa Cargo will become the world’s first cargo airline to use a more environmentally friendly plastic film for transporting freight. The thin, innovative film is made from 10 percent recycled material and will be deployed worldwide from September 2022.

Lufthansa Cargo to Deploy More Environmentally Friendly Plastic Film Worldwide by Mid-September 2022 - Courtesy Lufthansa Cargo

On Thursday (September 8, 2022), Lufthansa Cargo announced that from September 2022 they will use a new innovative, thin plastic film for transportation made from 10 percent recycled materials, becoming the first cargo airline to deploy the more sustainable solution. Each year, Lufthansa Cargo requires around 500 tons of plastic worldwide to protect freight during transport. For many years, the company has been working to reduce the need for plastic and to establish more environmentally friendly handling procedures at around 300 stations around the globe. The more environmentally friendly film is one micrometer thinner than previous films, reducing the plastic needed on each flight by around two kilograms.

In Thursday’s announcement, Lufthansa AG’s Chief Executive Officer, Dorothea von Boxberg, said,

“Plastic waste has become a major problem for the environment worldwide. We are therefore particularly concerned to reduce our need for plastic and to use it in a way that conserves resources. In our sustainability strategy, we follow the guiding principle 'Every Action Counts'. Every step we can take to make airfreight logistics more sustainable is important to us - in the air as well as on the ground. We are particularly pleased to be the first cargo airline to be able to use a more environmentally friendly film in the transport of our freight after many tests at selected stations and good cooperation with our specialist departments, our waste disposal company and our film producer. This brings us a step closer to our goal of using our plastic film in a circular way.”

Lufthansa Cargo’s goal is to use the closed-loop principle in regard to recycling plastic. For example, the company is working with their local waste disposal company and film manufacturer, Verpa Folie Weidhausen GmbH in Germany to collect approximately 400 tons of used plastic annually in Frankfurt. The plastic is then processed into granulate, where it is incorporated into new film. The companies aim to further optimize the films by the end of the year where they not only contain recycled content, but are also biodegradable, allowing the ability to be recycled with other films without restriction. Lufthansa Cargo’s ultimate goal is to find local film manufacturers globally who can produce the plastic film according to their strict sustainability criteria, ideally made from biogenic raw materials. Since March 2022, Lufthansa Cargo has also established multiple use of plastic film as a standard handling process.

Further commenting on the development and use of the more environmentally friendly plastic film, Verpa Folie Weidhausen GmbH’s Managing Director, Peter Griebel, said,

“The development of a sustainable plastic film is a long-term task on which we have worked intensively with Lufthansa Cargo. Together, we have developed requirements for the new film, tested it in operation and can now introduce it as a standard product worldwide at Lufthansa Cargo. Now we have set ourselves the goal of successively increasing the recycled content of our plastic film to 30 percent by 2025.”

With revenue of €3.8 billion and 7.2 billion freight ton kilometers in 2021, Lufthansa Cargo is one of the world’s leading air freight companies, employing approximately 4,200 team members worldwide. The cargo carrier serves around 300 destinations in over 100 countries with a dedicated fleet of freighters, as well as belly-hold cargo capacity of passenger aircraft operated by Lufthansa German Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings Discover and SunExpress. In 2022, the airline will equip their fleet of dedicated freighters with Sharkskin technology to reduce drag, and expand their SAF program to further reduce CO2 emissions. The company also operates an extensive road feeder service network. Lufthansa Cargo is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and is the Group’s logistics specialist.

Source: Lufthansa Cargo / Mynewsdesk


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