Partially-edible meal trays, cutlery made from coconut shells and drink containers made from soluble seaweed could be the future of a more eco-friendly, in-flight dining experience.

Edible meal tray
A new plastic-free, on-board cabin experience. Image by Priestman Goode

Design studio PriestmanGoode is hoping to revolutionise various elements of cabin service with eco-friendly, zero-waste alternatives. Instead of plastic trays, they've developed a partially-edible one from used coffee grains and husks, alongside food containers made from wheat bran. Soluble seaweed has been used to replace plastic in mini condiment and milk pods. While, banana leaf or algae have been combined with rice husk to create eco-friendly cups. 

Eco-friendly meal tray
A partially edible meal tray made from ground coffee beans. Image by PriestmanGoode

Single-use cutlery is also on the way out with a spork (spoon and fork hybrid) made from coconut wood. The design of water flasks are also being revolutionised by PriestmanGoode with one made from cork and compostable bioplastic, as well as a concept for an on-board, water-cooler cart, which would allow passengers to refill during their flight.

Refillable water bottle
Refillable water bottle made from cork and a compostable bioplastic material. Image by PriestmanGoode

The products were developed as part of a new exhibition by PriestmanGoode at London's Design Museum, titled Get Onboard: Reduce. Reuse. Rethink. The exhibition aims to raise awareness of how much waste is generated through air travel, especially through the on-board parade of single-use disposables. For instance, every passenger on a long-haul flight generates more than a kilogram of material waste. This amounts to an estimated 5.7 million tonnes of cabin waste on global passenger flights each year, from earphones and eye-masks to toiletries and food waste. By 2030, this number is expected to nearly double to an annual ten million tons.

Plastic-free in-flight dining
PriestmanGoode's design concepts can be viewed at London's Design Museum. Image by PriestmanGoode

The total impact on the environment is enormous. Airlines aren’t oblivious to the scope of the problem and some have started to embrace a more environmentally-friendly outlook, like Australian carrier Qantas, which aims to eliminate 75% of the airline's waste by 2021. It also launched the world's first zero-waste commercial flight this spring.

Get Onboard: Reduce. Reuse. Rethinks runs at the Design Museum in London until 9 February, 2020. 

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