Air New Zealand have just pledged to scrap a further 14 single-use plastic items companywide, including plastic cups, lids, Koru cheese plates and plastic bags. This initiative is keeping more than 24 million single-use plastic items from our oceans every year. This is in addition to straws, coffee stirrers, eye mask bags and toothbrushes, which have already been removed from Air New Zealand lounges and aircrafts.

Overall, each year, Air New Zealand is avoiding:

  • 7.4 million plastic cups

  • 7.3 million coffee cups and lids

  • 1.5 million plastic bags

  • 550,000 cheese plates

  • 7.1 million stirrers

  • 260,000 toothbrushes

  • 260,000 eye mask bags

  • 3,000 straws

You can expect to see replacements of these items with a sustainable and/or reusable counterpart over the next 12 months, as Air New Zealand continue on track to becoming the world’s “least unsustainable” airline. While these are just baby steps, the scale of a corporation like Air New Zealand means that an initiative like this significantly increases the amount of single-use plastic being avoided worldwide.

Air New Zealand’s Head of Sustainability, Lisa Daniell, says the airline’s employees and its customers have been a huge catalyst for this change. “Plastics are top of mind for us and our customers. Several of our waste and plastic reduction initiatives have been brought about by our employees telling us we can do better in this area.”

These changes are part of a wider programme aimed at reducing the airline’s use of plastic. The Ministry for the Environment has assisted Air New Zealand in identifying lower impact alternatives and aligning its end-of-life solutions to New Zealand’s existing facilities, recycling and composting capabilities.