Air New Zealand switches out single-use plastic in new trial

New eco-serviceware has graced tray tables in Air New Zealand's international economy cabin in a new trial to reduce plastic and carbon emissions.
24 September 2021

The airline recently tested two different casserole dish materials, bagasse and rotable plastic, along with a birchwood cutlery alternative on four of its Rarotonga flights. Switching to a more sustainable serviceware option has the potential to remove around 28 million single-use plastic dishes and knives, forks and spoons from inflight every year.

Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says now is the right time to be looking at the materials the airline uses inflight.

"The serviceware flying today was designed more than a decade ago. With an acute awareness of the impacts of plastic pollution, we're delivering serviceware that is designed for the culinary experiences of the future and reduces vast amounts of single-use plastic from our operation.

"We're on a journey to reduce the impact of our serviceware on the environment by moving away from single-use plastics and trialling more sustainable serviceware across some of our international flights.

"Our Future Aircraft Cabin Experience (FACE) programme has been in motion for a number of years now, working on the future experience for our customers. COVID-19 has however, given us a chance to accelerate some of that work. We want to build back better than before and moving towards more sustainable alternatives inflight is a key focus area of our strategy.

"We looked at everything from carbon emissions to raw materials which fed into what serviceware we used in the trial, and in future, expect to roll out across our network.

"We also have plans to trial bamboo cutlery alongside the birchwood to see what works best for our customers."

Other moves Air New Zealand has taken to reduce waste and plastic include:

• Reinjecting a range of sealed and unused inflight products like bottled water, cookies and boxes of tea, which has saved more than 36 million products going to landfill.

• Since 2018, the airline has also transitioned 55 million single-use plastic items to lower-impact alternatives, or removed them entirely, across its global network and ground locations.


Bagasse is a renewable, abundant and natural agricultural by-product (made from plant fibre) with a lower carbon footprint than other alternative serviceware material.

Rotable plastic
A lightweight and robust option that will be sterilised and put back into rotation until end of life.

Birchwood cutlery
Made from renewable birchwood and has a lower carbon footprint than our current economy cutlery option.

Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.

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About Star Alliance

The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Air Portugal, THAI, Turkish Airlines, and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 19,000 daily flights to more than 1,250 airports in 195 countries. Further connecting flights are offered by Star Alliance Connecting Partner, Juneyao Airlines.

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