Portugese airline Hi-Fly took to the skies on Wednesday of last week en route to Natale, Brazil, with 700 passengers – and zero single-use plastic on-board. The test run was part of the company’s plan to ban single-use plastic on all its flights by the end of 2019.
The company replaced items like cups, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, sick bags, packaging for bedding, dishes, individual butter pots, soft drink bottles, and toothbrushes with sustainable, non-plastic alternatives.
The company will do three more test runs with bamboo cutlery and compostable food containers and cutlery. Hi Fly will also collaborate with Vegware, a catering company that uses plant-based disposables that can be composted commercially with food waste, for one of their test runs.
“This historic Hi Fly flight, without any single-use plastic items on board, underlines our commitment to making Hi Fly the world’s first ‘plastics-free’ airline within 12 months,” Hi Fy President Paulo Mirpuri said in a statement. He added: “We take that commitment very seriously.”
“Our corporate mission is based around sustainability and we work hand in glove with the Mirpuri Foundation to make sure that our corporate practices match our wider responsibilities to the planet,” he said. “The test flights will prevent around 350 KG of single-use, virtually indestructible plastics from poisoning our environment.”
Other airlines have pledged to ban single-use plastic on board their aircrafts as well, with Air New Zealand taking measures to cut down on plastic on board its flights and in lounges and Alaska Airlines cutting plastic straws from flights last year.
Hi Fly has been collaborating closely with Mirpuri Foundation, a non-profit established by Hi Fly President Paulo Mirpuri, to campaign against single-use plastic. Last year, Mirpuri Foundation sponsored a Portuguese boat named “Turn the Tide on Plastic” in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18. The Foundation painted one of Hi Fly’s Airbus A330 with the same message on both sides.
With awareness about the impact of plastic on the environment hitting an all-time high 2018 saw many initiatives to ban single-use plastic, with Earth Day 2018’s hashtag #endplasticpollution gaining popularity among policy-makers in cities around the world.