Lonely Planet Writer

The first single-use plastic-free flight has taken off

While most airline passengers look forward to seeing food and drinks service coming their way, there’s no doubt that this comes with a serious amount of single-use plastics. But that may one day be a thing of the past, as an airline has made the “first-ever jet-age passenger flight with not a single-use plastic item on board”.

The first plastic-free flight has taken off. Image by Hi Fly

Portuguese charter airline Hi Fly has completed plastic-free trial flights, with the first taking off on 26 December from Lisbon, Portugal to Natal, Brazil and more than 700 passengers taking part in the trial.

But the project won’t stop there – Hi Fly president Paulo Mirpuri said the company aims to be the world’s first ‘plastics-free’ airline within 12 months. The airline replaced single-use plastic items like cups, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, sick bags, packaging for bedding, dishes, individual butter pots, soft drink bottles and toothbrushes with items like bamboo cutlery, paper packaging and containers that can be composted.

Single-use plastics end up being tossed aside. Image by GettyImages/5m3photos

“The test flights will prevent around 350 KG of single-use, virtually indestructible plastics from poisoning our environment”, said Mirpuri in a statement. “Over 100,000 flights take off each day around the world and, last year, commercial aircraft carried nearly four billion passengers. This number is expected to double again in less than 20 years. So, the potential to make a difference here is clearly enormous”.

Attempting to reduce single-use plastics is an ongoing trend in the travel industry. Irish airline Ryanair and cruise line Royal Caribbean are just some of the major companies that have announced their plans to go plastic-free in the coming years.

Want to go plastic-free while you travel? Find out how here.