July 29 2019  |  Airline & Terminal News

LATAM takes aim at onboard waste

By Rachel Debling

Ignacio Cueto, President of LATAM Airlines Group (left), at the July 17 launch of the program

On July 17, LATAM Airlines revealed it is setting its sights on reducing the large amounts of onboard waste accumulated on its aircraft every year with a program titled “Recycle Your Journey.”

The program hit the skies the same day as the announcement, and the airline anticipates that from August to December 2019 its efforts will result in the recycling of more than 20 tons of waste on domestic flights in Chile. The initiative is part of the airline’s larger “Together, More Sustainable” strategy which has been in place for more than 10 years.

The focus of the program will be the recycling of waste from Mercado LATAM, the carrier’s buy-on-board food service, and will be gradually rolled out through LATAM’s Latin America operations. In it, aluminium, glass and plastic will be segregated and funnelled into the proper post-flight channels.

Ignacio Cueto, President of LATAM Airlines Group, said in the July press release announcing the initiative: "As one of the three most sustainable airline groups in the world, we are committed to bringing about change and leading by example. Today’s launch of our ‘Recycle your Journey’ program on domestic flights in Chile represents just the first step towards the introduction of onboard recycling across our network.” Collaboration and cooperation are key aspects of the program, he added. “Without the support and willingness of our passengers and the commitment of our cabin crew, onboard recycling is not possible,” he said.

This is the first stage of the company’s onboard recycling program, with the eventual goal of recycling all packaging waste created by Mercado LATAM. By the end of 2020, LATAM expects they will recycle more than 55 tons of onboard waste each year.

Several stages will occur to bring “Recycle Your Journey” to life. Following the onboard Mercado LATAM service, the cabin crew will collect the waste from passengers, separating it into aluminium, glass and plastic. On arrival at the aircraft’s domestic destination, LSG Sky Chefs will receive the segregated waste and transport it to local recycling centers.

“Recycle Your Journey” was in development for more than a year prior to its launch and underwent four trial programs to define and perfect the processes. Currently, aluminium, glass and plastics are being recycled.

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