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KLM

Why plastic on board has its advantages

As other airlines, too, KLM wants to reduce the use of plastic. But sometimes it can be sustainable that other materials, says KLM manager Boet Kreiken.

aeroTELEGRAPH

Flieger von KLM: Weniger Plastik, aber nicht null Plastik.

Many airlines want to ban plastic from their aircraft. This is because the material has harmful effects on the climate. «Carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases are released at every stage of the plastic life cycle. This begins when the fossil raw materials are extracted, refined and processed in energy-intensive processes, and ends when plastic waste is disposed of or incinerated,» states the German Heinrich Böll Foundation. At the same time, plastic is a problem when it ends up in nature.

This is why KLM has banned plastic from airplanes in many places, such as in drinking straws. But: «Our biggest enemy is the weight», says Boet Kreiken in an interview with aeroTELEGRAPH with regard to kerosene consumption and CO2 emissions. A scientific institute has therefore been asked to calculate the overall effect of everything KLM does. According to the manager, who is responsible for the customer experience , the results were surprising.

View of other industries

«For example, the plastic film will not disappear over the food at KLM,» says Kreiken. Some people would say that this is not sustainable, but the opposite is the case. «This is because plastic film is the lightest material there is. And every gram is important when you’re doing between 400,000 and 500,000 flights a year.» In addition, the plastic is recycled.

You also constantly look around for trends in other industries. «For example, Ikea now has chairs without screws. They use click systems». This is important because the metal industry is responsible for large emissions in the manufacture of screws.

Newspapers and duty-free sales obsolete

Other things are no longer necessary on board. For example, newspapers on board were first abolished because of their weight. «A few months ago we even stopped our newspaper app because it was hardly used.» Also the on-board sales have already been cancelled in Europe and will be done in January also on the long-haul routes.

«It’s complexity, you can find better goods on the Internet, it’s outdated, a concept from the 1970s.» When asked about the fact that Lufthansa wants to continue to rely on in-flight sales, Kreiken says: «I think Lufthansa will probably stop doing this in two years’ time.»

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