April 22 2019  |  Airline & Terminal News

Air Canada talks environmental initiatives

By Rachel Debling

To recognize Earth Day 2019 and further its environmental efforts, Air Canada announced a partnership with environmental organization 4ocean, a company that has to date removed more than four million pounds of trash from the ocean and coastlines.

While this exclusive partnership is part of the airline's plastic reduction strategy, it also creates opportunities for Air Canada employees to participate in coastal clean-ups across North America in 2019. In addition, 4ocean will work with the carrier to develop educational resources on ocean conservation for employees.

Teresa Ehman, Senior Director of Environmental Affairs at Air Canada, commented on the initiative: "A key target of Air Canada's corporate waste strategy is our Single-Use Plastics Reduction program. Our partnership with 4ocean as the exclusive Canadian airline is a great fit with this journey and we are especially delighted with the opportunity to engage our employees in our communities. There are many Air Canada employees who care deeply about sustainability and the environment who are keen to make a difference in actively help reduce ocean plastic pollution."

"We are ecstatic to partner with Air Canada in an initiative to eliminate single use plastic," said Tony Chvala, Chief Operating Officer at 4ocean. "We believe Air Canada's sustainability program is a giant leap forward in this initiative. 4ocean is looking forward to removing thousands of pounds of plastic and waste with Air Canada."

The airline has been working to reduce its use of plastics, a project that began with a 2018 review and assessment of all plastics used on board. Air Canada used the results to identify areas in which they could "eliminate, replace, reduce or recycle is single-use plastics," according to a press release from the carrier. As a result of these findings, plastic stir sticks will be eliminated in the airline's lounges and on its aircraft this summer.

Later this year, in the fall of 2019, Air Canada will also cease to use the traditional outer plastic bag for its Business and Premium Economy amenity kits - nearly 1.8 million kits in total. The airline is also working with University of Toronto graduate students in the Master of Science in Sustainability Management program to identify alternatives to plastics used on board its aircraft.

Other environmental initiatives Air Canada has embarked upon include improving its fuel efficiency by 44.5 percent, distributing lightly used duvets to social service agencies through its work with Partners in Project Green, and the recycling of old uniforms to non-branded outfits for people re-entering the workforce, or the shredding of old uniforms for use in punching bags and automotive stuffing.

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