American Airlines Cargo has announced that it reduced its long-term plastic waste by over 68 tonnes, the equivalent of 8.6 million water bottles, in 2023 through the use of biodegradable plastic products in its air cargo operations.
Biodegradable packaging products from manufacturer M&G Packaging have been used to replace stretch wrap and pallet covers. The manufacturer explains that while regular plastic can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade in landfill, its line of BioNatur Plastics products are ‘manufactured with a 1% load of an organic, food-safe proprietary additive that allows anaerobic bacteria to digest the plastic in a landfill’ in eight to 12 years.
Products from the manufacturer’s BioNatur Plastics line were introduced to American Airline Cargo hubs in early 2022 and the logistics company expanded its use of these products across several US and international airports in 2023.
As a result, American Airlines Cargo said that it reduced its long-term plastic waste by the equivalent of 6.4 million water bottles in the first year, with this number increasing by 2.2 million following the expansion of biodegradable plastic products at its sites around the US in 2023.
It plans to increase the use of these products going forward, both in its smaller operations and internationally.
Greg Schwendinger, President of American Airlines Cargo, said: “Sustainability is of paramount importance for us at American [Airlines Cargo], and we are so pleased that our transition to BioNatur Plastics is one way we can implement real change in our cargo operations.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with BioNatur Plastics as we unite in working toward a greener future.”
Charles Rick, President of BioNatur Plastics added: “American [Airlines Cargo] is a leader in sustainability and we are proud to work with the cargo team to make the switch to our biodegradable and recyclable plastics. We look forward to even greater impact together in 2024.”
In addition to changing its packaging, American Airlines Cargo’s sustainability strategy includes plans to reduce energy consumption at its hubs through changing the lighting, cutting its use of paper through the digitisation of documents and purchasing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as an alternative to traditional aviation fuels.
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