Singapore Airlines (SIA) is contributing more to greener skies by further reducing food wastage on board, cutting back on the use of plastics for in-flight items and increasing the use of sustainable ingredients in in-flight meals.
“We are proud to have embarked on a new era of greater sustainability, with an enhanced focus on environmentally responsible practices on board that will significantly reduce our carbon footprint and improve sustainable travel of our customers,” said SIA’s senior vice president customer experience Yeoh Phee Teik.
Cutting down on food waste
SIA currently employs customer surveys, data analytics and staff feedback, and works with its caterers to reduce food wastage after flights.
The airline plans to automate data collection and further leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to better predict customers’ consumption patterns and further reduce cabin food waste.
Through an improved monitoring system of customers’ consumption patterns and data analytics, SIA will be able to better adjust the quantities of certain food items uplifted to minimise wastage without compromising on customer service.
Reducing use of plastics in-flight through alternative sustainable materials
SIA is also committed to reducing the use of single-use plastics with alternative sustainable materials for more in-flight items.
The airline aims to become entirely plastic straw-free by September 2019. Since September 2018, SIA has removed all plastic straws on board, apart from children’s straws. The latter will be substituted with environmentally friendly paper straws. These changes will reduce about 820,000 plastic straws each year. The airline also has plans to replace its current plastic swizzle sticks with wood-based ones by September 2019.
From May 2019, SIA will also be replacing polybags from children’s toys with recyclable paper packaging.
Several of the airline’s paper products, such as menu cards, tissue paper and toilet rolls, are made with FSC-certified paper, which have been sourced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
Other upcoming green initiatives include the printing of children’s colouring books and activity kits using eco-friendly soy-based ink.
Sustainable food sourcing
Expanding on the airline’s ‘From Farm to Plane’ concept introduced in 2017, which promotes environmental sustainability and supports local farming communities, SIA will be embarking on an exciting new collaboration with AeroFarms, the world’s largest indoor vertical farm of its kind based in Newark, United States.
Produce at AeroFarms is grown indoors without soil, pesticides or sunlight, using AeroFarms’ award-winning aeroponic technology.
“As vertical farms are not weather dependent but operate under a controlled environment, crops can be grown year-round, thereby increasing the amount of sustainable produce to support more of the Airline’s needs,” Mr Yeoh said.
Aerofarms will provide a customised blend of fresh produce for SIA’s Newark to Singapore flights from September 2019.
“Imagine boarding a plane and enjoying a salad harvested only a few hours before take-off – literally the world’s freshest airline food,” said SIA’s food & beverage director Antony McNeil.
SIA through its catering partner SATS currently sources certain types of produce from two local farms for flights departing Singapore. It plans to work with SATS to identify local vertical farms to work with.
Other ingredients obtained from sustainable sources include selected locally farmed fish from fisheries that are certified by Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).