#PlasticFreeJuly: Air New Zealand set to cut 55 million plastic items from their flights

Next time you're on a flight, start taking note of the amount of single-use plastic items you consume.

The packaging of the food, the water bottles, that coffee to help you get through a red-eye flight - it might look inconsequential to you but when you add up all the passengers and all the flights around the world, flying looks real bad for the planet. 

READ: SA's famous shark-cage diving town Gansbaai pioneering new plastic pollution fix

Airlines however are taking note of the war on plastic, and the latest company to get on board is Air New Zealand, who earlier this month announced that they will be getting rid of 55 million plastic items this year, more than double the amount they previously committed to. 

Besides the usual culprits like cups and water bottles, they will also be eliminating 200 000 sauce packets from their flights completely - instead, the sauces will be served in reusable dishes.

You won't start drinking your coffee in mugs though - the airline will replace the 44.5 million plastic cups with ones made from plants.

JOIN IN: Why not ditch the teabags and go plastic-free for July?

Air New Zealand's acting head of sustainability Anna Palairet says the airline is focused on reducing the amount of single-use plastic products it purchases at the source.

"Single-use plastic is a highly topical and visible issue for us and our customers, so we're really pleased to be able to share this progress to celebrate Plastic Free July. The lack of composting infrastructure available in New Zealand is a challenge so we have been focused on reducing the amount of single-use plastic products we purchase in the first place.

"It's great to see more and more customers are bringing their reusable drink bottles and keep cups onboard, and we encourage people to do this - our cabin crew team is happy to fill these."

Other airlines that have also made headway in reducing their plastic consumption include Qantas, Hi Fly and American Airlines, and cruise liners and hotels like MSC and Protea Hotels have banned straws from their ships and properties. 

Want to know how you join in on Plastic Free July? Check out these handy tips. 

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