garbage in the air

As I am flying today to Seoul, for the Fall meeting of the Korean Statistical Society, a somewhat interesting paper in the New York Times about switching to alternatives for airline catering (if not air travel), starting with the figure that a passenger generates on average 1.5kg of waste per flight. And pointing out the conflicting issues in recycling food waste in most countries as they see it as imported waste and potential imported pathogens.and biohazards… While getting rids of plastic items is a tiny step in the right direction, especially because airlines do not sort between different kinds of garbage, a major step would be to avoid replacing them by another disposable item, especially heavier ones. From getting rid of providing food and drink (except water) on short and medium-haul flights to aim at healthy foods that do not require packaging or utensils. Like fruits. And asking passengers to carry their own garbage when leaving the plane could also enhance the realisation of the amount of garbage they thus produced. (On a recent early morning flight between Paris and Birmingham, the plane supposedly could not leave until the late delivery truck had brought croissants and drinks, as if passengers could not have abstained for the 55mn the flight lasted, especially when most of them were sleeping…) Nowadays. I usually travel with a water bottle that I fill before boarding after security and often skip meals on flights, but it invariably proves difficult to ask flight attendants to use my own reusable cup rather than a single-use plastic cup.

4 Responses to “garbage in the air”

  1. I suspect if they did introduce these improvements it would only be to do some green-washing after these revelations: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/nov/11/ba-to-review-fuel-tankering-after-panorama-revelations

    • I would think these revelations pretty minor compared with the ecologically poor perception of flying. Air France is already offsetting all of its domestic flights. As well as claiming an 11% (and soon 20%) reduction in CO² per passenger.kilometre since 2011.

  2. Claire Galkowski Says:

    My French is very rusty… Love his observation that replacing plastic disposables with heavier paper ones is a loser. at least the experiment with wrapping bananas in a layer of plastic didn’t catch on. I’m guessing that the packaging for the unnecessary croissants weighed more than the croissants themselves. sigh.

  3. Emmanuel Charpentier Says:

    Le marketing a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas…

    Enseignant à Dauphine, vous devriez être au courant, non ? ;-]

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