A recent announcement from American Airlines Cargo, stated that in 2023 they were successful in their aim to reduce their amount of long-term plastic waste. They did this through replacing the plastic products used during air cargo operations with biodegradable plastic products. So far, they have managed to reduce their plastic waste by more than 68 million tons, which is equal to 8.6 million water bottles.
These biodegradable products are from M&G Packaging and are part of the BioNatur Plastics line and they were introduced to American Airline Cargo hubs back in early 2022. So far, the use of these products has been successful and this success led to the expansion of their use to several US and international airports in 2023. The availability of this innovative product made it a lot easier for American Airlines Cargo to reduce its long-term plastic waste and this was proven when in the first year, the company reduced their plastic waste by 6.4 million water bottles. This statistic increased the following year by 2.2 million after continued use of the product, as well as the expansion of biodegradable plastic products at its US sites in 2023.
The product is not only better for the environment because it can be broken down, but because it will break down so much faster than regular plastic. Whilst regular plastic takes around 1,000 years to biodegrade, the BioNatur Plastics products are able to break down in an estimated eight to twelve years. This is made possible through their components, which consist of a 1% load of organic, food-safe proprietary additive which allows anaerobic bacteria to digest the plastic whilst it is in landfill. This accelerates the process a substantial amount and means this new biodegradable plastic product is considered much better for the environment and therefore as a packaging solution.
So far, the biodegradable packaging has seen success in replacing stretch wrap and pallet covers and therefore there are plans underway for BioNatur Plastics to increase their number of available products for both smaller and international operations.
The use of this greener material, highlights American Airlines Cargo’s commitment to their sustainability strategy. This commitment is also shown in other areas where the company is looking to make improvements, which include their intentions to reduce their energy consumption at their hubs. The company’s plan to do this revolves around changing the lighting, cutting their use of paper by digitalising their documents and finally, purchasing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
President of American Airlines Cargo, Greg Schwendinger, commented, “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.”
President of BioNatur Plastics, Charles Rick, mentioned, “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.”