KLM trials a closed-loop recycling system for its catering supplies

Circular economy

Today, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is flying with flight KL0681 from Amsterdam to Vancouver with catering supplies on board that have mostly been collected and recycled within a new, closed-loop system.

The containers, lids and glasses were collected earlier this month off four Vancouver Amsterdam flights. They have now been cleaned and are after recycling being reused on this flight. KLM is the first airline in the world to trial the recycling of different catering items within a closed-loop system.

"KLM is carrying out this trial with recycled catering supplies to research the effects on the environment and to find out how scalable this closed loop might be. The test fits in with KLM’s sustainability initiative “Fly Responsibly” and should contribute to the goal of reducing the volume of waste by 50% by 2030, compared to the level of 2011."
Martine van Streun, Director Cabin Product & Service Engineering van KLM

During this innovative test, dessert and salad trays, lids, plastic glasses and hot meal trays – which, according to European legislation, would have to be disposed of on flights from outside Europe – can now be washed and recycled. Cutlery can be reused after it has been washed and checked.

Lower environmental impact

"The material for the products has been adapted especially for the test. The dessert and salad bowls, lids, and glasses for the flight on 18 December are made of a material with a lower specific gravity than the original. It now can be washed in accordance with the law and properly recycled into new catering equipment. In addition, the material is less harmful to the environment during production. Lighter materials result in lower carbon emissions. and contribute to meeting the target 15% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, compared to 2005. This will also lead to less waste, of course. We therefore expect the overall environmental impact to be reduced."
Martine van Streun, Director Cabin Product & Service Engineering van KLM

The trial is being organised jointly with De Ster, which supplies KLM with its catering materials, and with the meal suppliers Marfo, Izico, Ipack and AA Bakeries.