Sustainability in the Airline Industry—
Waste Management

IATA has a goal of a 50% reduction in CO2 by 2050, and airlines all over the globe are working on green initiatives to achieve their sustainability goals and reduce their overall carbon footprint. While changing to biofuels is the greatest way for airlines to lower their carbon emissions, weight reduction through lowering cabin waste and reusing/recycling items is becoming a priority.

Simply put, reducing inflight services wastage and weight lowers fuel consumption, saving fuel costs and reducing carbon emissions.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…Repeat

According to IATA, global airlines produce 6.1 million tonnes (6.7 million US tons) of cabin waste every year, with only 9% recyclable.

Cabin waste falls into two categories:

  • Cleaning Waste: Includes leftover rubbish from items given to passengers such as newspapers, plastic bottles, amenity kits, plastic wrapping from blankets, pillows, and headsets. Washroom bins also are lumped into this category.
  • Catering Galley Waste: Includes inflight meals, snacks, and beverages served to passengers, particularly the leftover food, drinks, and packaging placed in trolleys or compactor bins.

Paxia Catering Management Solutions help airlines meet their sustainability goals by improving planning and logistics for reducing, reusing, and recycling cabin waste to lower the weight of items contained in their onboard services. 

A Move Towards Never Waste Anything: Tackling the Onboard Waste Problem

In a 2013 London Heathrow Airport Study, it is estimated that a typical airline passenger generates 3.15 pounds (1.43 kilos) of cabin waste per flight (average across both short- and long-haul international flights). And of that wastage, 23% is considered viable food in untouched meals destined for landfills or incineration. Only 17% of the waste was deemed recyclable such as newspaper, plastic cups, and paper trays.

With Paxia Catering Management Solutions, airlines can effectively manage the amount of catering galley and cleaning waste.  Airlines can move closer towards their sustainability goals simply by minimizing food waste and reducing weight through:

  • Accurate weight calculations lead to reduced fuel consumption. Examples include:
    • Airlines can replicate galley positions and stowage locations, managing and reporting on their weight and balance based on the galley position and contents.
    • DCS Weight and Balance integration: The ability to integrate Paixa GP with an airline’s Departure Control System (DCS) to provide required data for weight and balance
    • Paxia calculates the catering weight for the exact number of meals required on a particular flight to prevent overweight stowage by matching the latest passenger count and meals needed.
  • Precision Catering: Meal ordering logically and systematically adjusted to minimize over catering
    • Fully configurable pax adjustment rules engine to automatically fine-tune order numbers.
    • Catering rules applied to flights to tweak catering requirements flight by flight.
    • Data analytics to monitor, review and optimize wastage as your business evolves.
  • Virtual Containers: Galley Planners can create virtual containers used as placeholders of actual containers. This enables airline catering operations to load multiple packing variations for a single stowage with different meal configurations and weights.
  • Aircraft Swap Monitoring: Flight events sent to Paxia IFX are monitored by Paxia GP using a 3-minute scheduler. In the event of an equipment swap, airlines can quickly adjust what gets loaded onto the plane, loading what is needed for their onboard services and eliminating excess weight.

It is clear airlines realize that it is essential to improve planning and logistics around the waste.  With roughly 1.42 billion tons of food wasted each year, airlines recognize the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling cabin waste from their flight operations to reduce their environmental footprint. Paxia Catering Management Solutions can put you on your sustainability path.