Before we get to reducing waste whilst flying, it's really important to talk about the environmental impact of flying. Reducing how much you fly is a huge way to reduce your environmental impact. You can work out your carbon footprint here. If you want to reduce your impact of flying, the best thing you can do is fly less. If that isn't an option then reducing your in flight waste is a great next step. Not only does this reduce the actual waste of YOUR flight but also creates a voice of consumer demand. This is particularly important in light of where your flight is arriving, as many developing regions don't yet have the infrastructure for our waste disposal.
So here are some tips to reduce your impact, for those necessary flights.
1) Bring your own blanket or sarong
Flights can be chilly and blankets are normally a necessity. Aeroplane blankets however come in single use plastic bags. When you use your own sarong and don't unwrap the blanket given on arrival, they are collected and reused. Opened blankets are washed and the plastic discarded.
2) Use your own headphones
Like blankets, headphones that are not opened are simply reused. Stray away from opening up the crappy airline headphones and use your own! Most single port headphones work in the double socket just as well as the double prong ones provided.
3) Bring your own snacks
"On The Go" snacks are notorious for being plastic, palm oil, and fat heavy. Avoid those junk food snacks/ non recyclable plastic waste and bring your own healthy alternatives. This is also a great way to reduce your intake of salt and reduce in flight bloating. Just make sure you eat any food you bring before entering your host country to reduce the chance of introducing contaminants. If you have a choice over purchasing an in-flight meal, bring your own! Check regulations on what you're allowed to bring first. We also prioritise light foods!
4) Bring your keep cup
Air hostesses are normally happy to give you your drink in your keep cup. Whether that is your apple juice, coffee or wine. Considering drinks normally come in a single use cups EVERY SINGLE TIME, just think of all the plastic cups you can save over a long haul flight simply by bringing your keep cup. Plus, especially with hot drinks, you'll normally have your cup filled up!
5) Refill your own bottle
Drinking lots of water is a really good way to stay healthy when flying. Avoid single use plastic and the heavy cost of post security water, by bringing a water bottle. As long as it's empty through security, you are allowed to bring your empty bottle through. All international airports have refill stations, or simply ask at a cafe after security.