Believe it or not the average passenger averages 3.15 pounds of waste before leaving an aircraft. The International Air Transport Association estimated 6.7 million tons of waste was created on aircraft last year.
Another study reported that 23% of trash is food and beverage that could safely be consumed. Everything from food packaging and cultry waste, mini travel sized item packaging, aireline pillows, disposable headphones, everything imaginable.
Furthermore, many countries safety and health regulations insist much of the waste that is recyclable be incinerated.
Qantas, Australian airline, finished its first no-waste flight in May. All the waste on the flight was recyclable, compostable, or reusable. About one thousand plastic items were traded out for greener ones such meal packaging made from sugar cane and cereal starch forks, knives and spoons. All of this was later collected by the crew including recyclable items passengers brought on board themselves.
The result? A decrease of 75 pounds in waste according to a normal flight. KLM, Dutch airline, has announced it wants to follow suit with the use of more biodegradable materials. And Air France by the end 2019 has promised to reduce their usage of plastic by 210 million pieces.