Qantas’ hidden gem in its HY19 results was its waste initiative

25 February, 2019

Qantas Group's HY19 results included some interesting environmental targets you may have missed. During the talk of ROIC, EBITA and profit, Qantas took the time to highlight some important environmental milestones which have been reached by its waste initiative and set some clear future targets.

Qantas Group announced it aims to reduce the amount of landfill waste it produces by 75% by the end of 2021. The group estimates Qantas and Jetstar generate more than 30,000 tonnes of waste in Australia p/a, "the same weight as about eighty 747 jumbos", CEO Alan Joyce said.

More than 100 million single use plastic items p/a will be removed from flights and lounges by the end of 2020, replacing these items with sustainable packaging alternatives. The group will also undergo other sustainable initiatives including increasing donation or composting of food, recycling of old uniforms as well as the removal of unnecessary papers, such as operational manuals and boarding passes for both international and domestic flights on Qantas and Jetstar.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce admitted the carrier has a "big impact" on the environment but wants the public to know that "for several years we've had a series of targets to reduce that impact, and we're on track to reach them. By 2020, for instance, we'll have cut electricity use by almost 40 per cent."

Qantas Group waste initiative

"Across Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar we want to reduce our waste to landfill by 75 per cent and remove 100 million single use plastic items per annum. And we'll do it by the end of 2021.

It's the highest waste reduction target set by any airline in the world and it goes well beyond the recent European Union ban on single-use plastics in scope and speed.

Our coffee cups will be recycled. Our boarding passes and crew manuals will be replaced with paper-free alternatives. Even plastic frequent flyer cards are going digital.

Reducing our waste isn't just the right thing to do, it's good for business.

It will take time, but we're already starting - and we'll be asking our industry, regulators, customers and our people to help."

How passengers can help Qantas reach their targets

As part of the initiative, Qantas Group announced passengers will earn 10 points for every AUD1 spent offsetting their travel from Australia from mid 2019 as a way of increasing take up of carbon neutral travel.