Last month, Australia’s largest airline company, Qantas, flew the first-ever zero waste commercial flight from Sydney to Adelaide.
The route, which usually produces 34 kgs of waste per flight, or 150 tonnes of waste per year, included a range of reusable, recyclable, and compostable alternatives to inflight products. The flight demonstrated alternatives for approximately 1,000 single-use plastic items including electronic bag tags, recyclable plastic water bottles, and fully compostable meal containers made from sugarcane and cutlery made from crop starch.
Qantas Domestic CEO, Andrew David, says, “this flight was about testing our products, refining the waste process and getting feedback from our customers.”
“We want to give customers the same level of service they currently enjoy, but without the amount of waste that comes with it,” he continues.
The zero waste flight was the start of Qantas’ plan to cut 100 million single-use plastics by the end of 2020 and eliminate 75% of its waste by 2021.
This was a major effort to tackle the world’s waste crisis, and shows just how significant it is for small changes to be made by large companies, in order to see great results. It has also opened discussion for other large companies doing their bit for the environment.
What does zero waste actually mean?
Before exploring large companies that are heading towards a zero waste philosophy, let’s discuss what zero waste actually means.
Zero waste is about reducing, or preferably eliminating, the waste that we send to landfill. It’s about reducing the pollution that waste causes, in every form. This isn’t just limited to landfill. It also includes ocean pollution, where a significant amount of landfill rubbish finds its way to.
Zero waste is a “philosophy of redesigning resource life cycles,” and as Mr David said above, it’s about “refining the waste process.” This includes using both reusable and recyclable materials in your business operations.
Coca-Cola Australia saving 16,000 tonnes of virgin plastic
Coca-Cola Australia and Coca-Cola Amatil have recently announced their plans of heading towards a much more Eco-friendly packaging solution for their products. The companies are replacing 70% of their plastic bottles with recycled plastic by the end of 2019, saving approximately 16,000 tonnes of virgin plastic per year.
According to Peter West, Managing Director of Australian Beverages, “Our landmark transition to use 100% recycled plastic in bottles began with Mount Franklin Still Pure Australian Spring Waster in 2018. Following extensive research and development, this will now roll out across other brands in bottles 600 ml and under, across Coca-Cola’s soft drink, water and juice products.”
This is also a step towards supporting the 2025 national packaging targets.
Vodafone recycling e-waste effectively
Vodafone Australia consistently improves its production lines by finding alternative materials that are biodegradable or can easily be recycled. The company also actively encourages its consumers to recycle their devices safely and properly.
In fact, Vodafone is a founding member of Mobile Muster, Australia’s official mobile phone recycling program. Approximately 42,000 mobile phones, or 11,000 kgs of e-waste, is recycled via Vodafone stores, offices and service centres.
Toyota and Subaru lead at 96%
Most car manufacturers can’t help but produce a significant amount of hazardous waste. However, Toyota and Subaru are recognised as leaders in Eco-friendly waste reduction in the industry – and 96% seems to be a significant figure for both companies.
In 2015, North America’s Toyota reduced its waste consumption by 96%, replacing it with reusable and recyclable materials. This effectively saved 400,000 tonnes of waste from going to landfill.
After a major push from its employees, approximately 96% of Subaru’s vehicle components in its manufacturing can be recycled or reused. The company is the first in its industry to achieve a zero waste commitment as its manufacturing plant in the United States and two of its plants in Japan have not sent waste to landfill in over 12 years.
Every bit counts with The Source Bulk Foods
On a much smaller, but just as significant, scale, local Australian grocery chain, The Source Bulk Foods, encourages zero waste grocery shopping. Its 47 stores, which are located across the country, stock their products in reusable containers, rather than packaging, and encourage customers to bring their own reusable jars and bags to do their shopping.
The store’s philosophy saves 300,000 kg of packaging waste from landfill, and also reduces food waste by allowing customers to fill their jars as little or much as they want with each shop.
Not only is it significant for large companies to reduce their waste, smaller companies doing so demonstrates just how achievable it is for your business to do the same.
Are you concerned with reducing the waste your manufacturing, electronics, automotive, or food business produces? Nationwide Waste Solutions is a leading Australian waste management provider, dedicated to diverting your landfill waste to increase your recycling initiatives. We find the most sustainable solution for your business and ensure your customers remain a top priority. Speak to one of our trusted experts today on 1300 729 922 or visit our website for more information.
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