British Airways has announced that they target to remove more than 700 tonnes of single-use plastic on board its flights in 2020. This amounts to more than a quarter of a billion individual items of plastic and equivalent to more than 30,000 suitcases full of single-use plastic.

The airline has so far rolled out initiatives to remove 25 million individual items of single-use plastic on board each year which is equivalent to 90 tonnes, and has now set itself an ambitious target to increase this by more than 700%.

British Airways has been working closely with its suppliers to identify alternatives to single-use plastic items, and this year it will replace as many as possible with recyclable or re-usable items or items from sustainable sources.

To date, the airline has swapped plastic stirrers with bamboo alternatives, reduced plastic packaging on Club World amenity kits, swapped plastic wrapping for all bedding and blankets for paper wrapping (currently being rolled out across all cabins). It has also removed plastic wrapping on headsets and instead placed these inside paper charity envelopes in World Traveller cabins, water bottles on board are made from 50% recycled plastic and removed inflight retail plastic bags.

Kate Tanner, British Airways’ Customer Experience Manager had this to say, “Our customers have told us that they want to see these changes and we’re pleased to have made real strides in our journey to becoming more sustainable. We’ve spent a long time researching how to make sustainable changes without causing environmental impact elsewhere. For instance, we are looking at the amount of water and detergent needed to wash metal cutlery and how often it needs to be replaced versus using plastic or bamboo cutlery.