Air New Zealand’s latest initiative to reduce inflight waste has seen more than 132 tonnes diverted from landfill in its first nine months – the equivalent weight of three of the airline’s A320 aircraft.

Project Green was launched in August last year in conjunction with the airline’s catering partner LSG Sky Chefs and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to tackle inflight waste from international services arriving in Auckland, with a goal to divert 150 tonnes of waste from landfill annually.

The project has seen 40 inflight products, which had previously been sent to landfill due to biosecurity controls, being reclassified so these can be reused on flights in future if they are removed from aircraft sealed and untouched.

Tracking to date shows more than nine million individual items have been recovered for reuse or recycling rather than going to landfill.

Air New Zealand Head of Sustainability Lisa Daniell says this includes more than one million of each of the following – plastic cups, sugar sticks, paper cups and paper cup lids.

“We are tracking our progress every month and are confident of hitting our 150 tonne goal in the first 12 months of this project. As an airline, we are extremely committed to sustainability, which is an important issue for our customers and our employees. We are pleased that by working closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries and our catering partner LSG Sky Chefs that we are able to make another step in reducing our impact on the environment,” says Ms Daniell.

Project Green is one of many initiatives the airline has in place to reduce waste, with programmes in place to tackle organic waste from office spaces, repurpose office materials and lounge furniture, and blankets.