AER LINGUS has become the first airline to segregate and recycle its on-board waste, the company confirmed this week.
The Irish airline will now be recycling all waste that is not contaminated by animal by-products on short-haul flights into Cork and Dublin airports.
Aer Lingus CEO, Lynne Embleton said of their initiative: ‘Recycling on-board waste on short-haul flights into Dublin and Cork is another milestone on the airline’s focused sustainability agenda.
“We know from our customers that recycling is something the vast majority wish to see happen and this new on-board initiative complements other positive steps we are taking on our aircraft, including the use of more sustainable materials and reducing single use plastics on-board.”
She added: “Our on-board recycling initiative is one of a wide-ranging set of actions we are taking across Aer Lingus to drive sustainability at the airline, including investing in new fuel-efficient aircraft* and investing in sustainable aviation fuel.”
The airline is now on target to be recycling 20 per cent - or 200 tonnes - of on-board waste from flights into Cork and Dublin airports by the end of 2023.
This figure will increase to 40 per cent – some 720 tonnes - by 2025.
European regulations governing international catering waste were imposed in Ireland in 2002 following the Foot and Mouth outbreak, which inhibited the recycling of on-board waste.
However, Ireland’s Department of Agriculture has confirmed that recycling can now apply to any waste coming into Ireland that is not contaminated by animal by-products.
Aer Lingus first trialled waste recycling from flights into Cork at the end of 2022 and into Dublin at the start of 2023.
In addition to rolling out recycling on short-haul flights into Cork and Dublin, the company will extend the programme to other airports and to long-haul flights, over time, in partnership with the Panda Wate firm.
Derek Dunne, Managing Director for Panda, explained: “This is a great initiative by Aer Lingus and an exciting extension of the partnership we have held for the last number of years.
“At Panda, we focus on the circular economy through recycling and resource recovery; therefore, we are proud to be the first waste management company in Ireland to facilitate the introduction of recycling both on board the aircraft and at the custom-built facility at Dublin Airport.
“As a business, we are striving towards net zero by 2040 and are committed to shaping a better future for all by making sustainable choices easy and enabling our customers to leave a greener footprint.”