Sydney - Qantas will offset the carbon emissions of all domestic flights today as the national carrier launches a series of new sustainability initiatives

To mark World Environment Day, Qantas is reinvigorating its Fly Carbon Neutral program, which gives customers the option of paying a small amount to offset the emissions associated with their flight – with all proceeds going to community projects in Australia or overseas which generate carbon credits.

At the same time, Qantas will move to replace all lighting in operational areas with energy-efficient LED lights, revamp its domestic onboard recycling program to reduce waste to landfill, and introducenew, lightweight freight containers that will cut fuel consumption.

More than two million tonnes of carbon emissions – the equivalent of planting 12 million trees – have been offset since Qantas and Jetstar introduced carbon offsetting in 2007.

Qantas Head of Environment, Alan Milne, said the airline’s offset program had grown to become the largest of its kind in the world and Qantas was more committed than ever to reducing its carbon footprint.

“We’re really proud to be setting the example in the aviation industry with our Fly Carbon Neutral Program and hope that by offsetting the emissions of all our domestic flights on World Environment Day we’ll raise awareness in the community about creating a more sustainable future,” Mr Milne said.

Mr Milne said the airline is working on several new projects which will have long term benefits for the environment as well as the airline’s bottom line.

“We acknowledge aviation is a significant contributor of carbon emissions, which is why we are working hard to reduce our environmental impact in many ways including through fuel efficiency, conserving electricity and water, and reducing waste sent to landfill.

“We’re currently replacing fluorescent tube lighting with energy efficient LED lights in our airports, hangars, ramp areas, warehouses and flight simulators nationally, which will reduce our energy consumption by more than 13 million kilowatt hours and save our business more than $2 million per year,” Mr Milne said.

“Today we have launched our revamped onboard recycling program on Qantas domestic services, which means that all recyclable waste on our Boeing 737 fleet and Airbus A330 aircraft will be separated onboard and then disposed of as green waste.

“This is something that our customers and crew have wanted us to offer and we’ll be asking our customers to ensure they separate their waste to make it easier for the crew to recycle,” Mr Milne said.

The airline has begun introducing new, lightweight freight containers, which are made from recyclable materials and will reduce fuel consumption by more than 800 tonnes per year.