Today is One Plastic Free Day, an initiative set up by Frederikke Magnussen and Siân Sutherland of UK based A Plastic Planet. The aim of the day is to encourage people to share an image of a single product they’d like to see become plastic-free with the aim of confronting the businesses that produce them. As the organisation explains on their website, this could be anything from a water bottle, a pen, or even your favourite trainers.
The day is an initiative that follows on from A Plastic Planet’s 2017 ‘A Plastic Free Aisle’. The campaign, which gained mass media attention following its launch, encouraged supermarkets to ditch unnecessary plastic packaging, wrapping, and bags in a single aisle of their stores.
One Plastic Free Day is an example of the ever-growing momentum of the movement against single-use plastic. While it continues to target supermarkets, the movement is quickly turning its head towards the travel industry. According to the IATA, waste from the airline industry totalled 5.7 million tonnes in 2017. While waste can be separated into landfill, incineration or recycling, there is no guarantee that recyclable plastics do not end their life cycle in a landfill. Following the IATA’s warning that this number is set to double by 2030, it is no wonder that airlines, caterers, and service designers alike are looking to produce more environmentally friendly products sooner rather than later.
As service designers and product developers for the travel catering sector, we’re aware of the importance of sustainability and our industry’s impact on the environment. Like many other companies, we identified ourselves as a contributor to the waste that is hard to recycle or cannot be composted. This led us to reimagine our packaging design and to the reduction of our use of single-use plastic within our products and service design.
That’s why, back in April at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) in Hamburg, Germany, we launched our commitment to achieving sustainable skies. Our Four the Future strategy outlines our four key pillars for change: reduce, remove, replace, and reimagine. Today, on One Plastic Free Day, we’re taking a step back to reflect on what changes we’ve made so far to reduce our use of single-use plastic within our product packaging.
We’re pleased to say that we’ve already made big steps towards reducing our impact on the environment. Much of our ovenable hot handheld snack range’s packaging has historically been produced with a plastic greaseproof lining. While functional, we needed to address the complexity of separating materials to make them environmentally suitable for waste processing. This proposed a challenge to our creative and product development teams; how can we innovate practical packaging that does not require material separation and is sustainable no matter the end of life scenario?
The answer? Packaging that is both recyclable and biodegradable that replaces the plastic lining without compromising functionality. For many products within the hot handheld snack range, we’re now introducing sustainable materials that will replace the plastic lining. No matter where this packaging ends up, there is the option for them to be recycled or composted. This is one of the many steps we are taking towards helping our customers reduce their impact on the environment.
As a company, we’re not stopping at just One Plastic Free Day. We will continue to reimagine our packaging to provide alternative solutions in our mission to lead change within the industry. You can read more about our commitment to achieving sustainable skies, our Four the Future Strategy, and how we intend to help our customers meet their environmental targets by reading our official press release here.
To join in A Plastic Planet’s #OnePlasticFreeDay, share a picture of a product you’d like to see become single-use plastic free.