Japan Airlines will recycle all its food waste into fertilizer

In order to achieve its sustainability goals, Japan Airlines aims to recycle all food and cooking waste from its flights into fertilizer.

JAL Royal Catering, the group leading this initiative, said a total of 48 tonnes of plant waste was produced in 2019. Of that number, only 7.7% was recycled. By 2025, JAL aims to recycle 100% of its food waste into fertilizer through composting.

JAL also hopes to reduce food waste by preparing and rewarding waste-conscious efforts. For example, passengers who choose to cancel their in-flight meals before boarding will receive eye masks for free. The airline plans to implement this on all of its international flights by 2025.

In 2020, JAL introduced its “JAL Ethical Choice – Meal Skip Option” on certain flights. Passengers who jump or choose to sleep during the inflight meal service will receive an enhanced comfort kit.

JAL is not the only airline to make progress in reducing food waste.

Swiss Air is testing an initiative by selling leftover meals in economy class on the last flight of the day.

Partnering with Too Good to Go, an app-based platform that connects businesses to users, the airline sells unsold food from daily flights to users at discounted prices.

In October 2020, Emirates announced a plan to reduce food waste by deploying a management system to determine which ingredients are wasted the most during the catering process.

A 2018 An IATA report found that airlines generated around 6.7 million tonnes of cabin waste, at least 20% of which was uneaten food and drink.