Where Does Leftover Food From Planes Go?

**UPDATE:25/04/2020 @13:22 UTC – First paragraph food wastage figures amended.** The International Air Transport Association (IATA) found that…

Where Does Leftover Food From Planes Go?

**UPDATE:25/04/2020 @13:22 UTC – First paragraph food wastage figures amended.**

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) found that in 2017, 1.14 million tonnes of food was wasted from in-flight catering, according to its research. Action has been taken to manage waste in recent years but where does all this unusable food go?

What happens to leftover food waste? Photo: Getty Images

What’s the problem with in-flight food waste?

Over the years, we’ve seen many airlines adopting more sustainable methods of reducing cabin waste. From eliminating plastic straws to introducing edible food trays, the industry is shifting its focus to operate in a more environmentally beneficial manner. However, the food waste dilemma is one that’s still in the works.

20% of all food produced by in-flight catering teams is wasted every single year. The problem not only amounts to a significant financial deficit for airlines but also creates colossal pressure on overburdened landfill sites.

The issue is something that airlines are aware of. However, as the industry grows, it would seem that more needs to be done to reduce food waste for a sustainable future. There is now a global target to cut food waste in half in the next nine and a half years.

First, let’s take a look at how food waste is currently managed.

flight attendant serves food
Airlines are now trying to reduce food waste, but what’s the problem? Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

Sending food to landfill sites

When it comes to disposing of food waste, airlines have a few options depending on which food they are dealing with. The majority of opened food will end up in a landfill. This is the go-to option when nothing else can be done. Opened packets and half-eaten meals cannot be reused or donated. While some may be salvaged for composting purposes, airlines are really at the mercy of international food waste laws. This legislation predicates where they may dispose of their waste and how.

Did you know that there are International Cabin Waste laws that ensure airlines separate their animal waste products from fruits and vegetables in certain countries? The IATA says that:

“…the animal (meat) derived component of food waste generated on international flights […] is subject to regulation in a number of countries including Australia, Canada, European Union, New Zealand, and the USA. Although some jurisdictions such as the USA extend the definition to include waste comprising fruit and vegetables.”

However, while landfill is always a seemingly easy option, there are other methods that are more planet and people conscious.

LSG Chefs prep food
Different waste management options are available for different foods. Photo: LSG Sky Chefs via Wikimedia Commons

Reusing and donating cabin food

Some food items can be collected and funneled back into the supply chain. Packets of sugar, crisps, and unopened alcohol, for example, can be redistributed on other flights. Air New Zealand has been able to divert 890 tonnes of food since 2017 using this method that would have otherwise gone to landfills.

However, collecting these food articles and separating them from waste is a labor-intensive process. Passengers should take only what they need and consume what they have to avoid unnecessary food wastage. With our current health crisis, the threat of contact transmission raises concerns about this method.

Another development in recent years has been the increase in surplus airline food donations. Previously, airlines, as well as other food vendors, were cautious about donating surplus food because of the legal ramifications. If a consumer became unwell due to food that had been donated, the donor would be culpable.

Cathay Pacific 777-300
New food donation regulations have helped Cathay Pacific to donate to food banks. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

Thankfully, this somewhat archaic way of thinking is now being lifted. Food donors are slowly being safeguarded from legal repercussions on the edibles that they donate. Such shifts in legislation have prompted airlines like Cathay Pacific to hand out leftover food. The Asian airline works with food banks in Hong Kong and, in 2016, provided 234 tonnes of in-flight meals.

Is more being done to reduce food waste?

The airline food industry is evolving to create opportunities for carriers to reduce waste. While more options are needed for the sustainable disposal of in-flight meals, the focus is currently more on how airlines can stop producing so much food in the first place.

“Airlines can use surveys or previous meal selections for frequent flyers to provide more bespoke service offerings, thus reducing waste. Airlines are also beginning to introduce algorithms to optimize both food and drink victualling, which results in weight optimization and less wastage.”IATA, Cabin Waste Handbook.

As a result, several solutions have been curated and are being carried out by airlines across the world. These schemes include reducing buy-on-board options for short-haul flights. This prevents airlines from over-ordering and wasting stock when the demand is not there. Instead, airlines need to rely on algorithms that can predict how customers will order.

EVA air meal
If passengers preorder their meals, there will be less waste. Photo: Altair78 via Wikimedia Commons

How can passengers help?

The world’s carriers are doing their bit, and onus also lies with the traveler to make conscious decisions too. Airlines are now making a more conscious effort to promote pre-flight meal ordering. This system relies on passengers choosing their meals before their journey and consequently prevents undesired meals being created, ensuring that food is more likely to get eaten. While it may seem like a hassle, pre-ordering your meal can really help airlines to reduce their cabin waste.

Do you think the airline industry is doing enough to reduce food waste? Can you think of any more solutions that could help? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Norwegian Could Benefit From New Debt Laws In Norway

Yesterday, Norway’s parliament voted on legislation that replaces current regulation on debt negotiations. This law relaxes rules for…

Norwegian Could Benefit From New Debt Laws In Norway

Yesterday, Norway’s parliament voted on legislation that replaces current regulation on debt negotiations. This law relaxes rules for converting debt into equity, which could help save struggling Norwegian Air Shuttle.

There could be another lifeline for Norwegian as it seeks to stay alive during the passenger downturn. Photo: Getty images

Reuters reports that the Norwegian government is introducing this law to help save companies from potential bankruptcy amid the downturn in economic activity.

Existing debts

Norwegian had already been in a dire financial situation before the pandemic took the aviation industry by storm. Moreover, in 2019, the airline admitted that it was not even expecting to make a net profit until 2021.

However, the unprecedented drop in demand and the global travel restrictions rocked the firm. The government of Norway has been offering its support to the low-cost carrier, but with losses amounting, there are still substantial concerns. Subsequently, four of the airline’s subsidiaries in Sweden and Denmark have filed for bankruptcy, putting 4,700 jobs at risk.

Norwegian Air Getty Images
Throughout the last year, there have been several measures introduced to help Norwegian get to a better financial state. Photo: Getty Images

Better organization

Justice Minister Monica Maeland spoke about the new law to Norwegian’s parliament. She explained that it would help companies identify areas that are crucial to their safety. This move will then help them restructure more effectively.

Maeland said the following, as reported by Reuters:

“(The new law) is a more efficient tool to … sort out what parts of a business can be strong enough to survive.”

Most of the operator’s planes will remain on the ground during this period. Therefore, with the bulk of its flights suspended, it is looking to convert its debt to equity to qualify for state guarantees. Klemet Gaski, a lawyer from Oslo-based law firm Bull & Co, explained that now, only 50% of debtors and 50% of shareholders have to agree to a solution. This process is far less strict than the current rules.

The health crisis has already forced part of Norwegian’s holdings to restructure its finances this month. Photo: Getty Images

A helping hand

Altogether, this legislation could be the saving grace for Norwegian as its debts continue to pile up. With its financial situation already up in the air, it would not have been able to benefit from such lenient rules that are now in place.

Now, with the government looking to save its country’s economy, several companies will have more support than they have ever had. Therefore, it won’t be surprising to see Norwegian take advantage of the new measures in place as it once again fights for its survival. 

Simple Flying reached out to Norwegian for comment on how the debt laws in Norway will help it but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What are your thoughts on the new debt legislation in Norway? Do you see Norwegian benefiting from the new rules? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.

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