Australia’s national carrier Qantas has trialled the world’s first zero-waste flight as part of its plans to cut 100 million single-use plastics by the end of 2020.

Operated from Sydney to Adelaide, Flight QF739 represents a key milestone for the airline’s plan to reduce waste.

The carrier noted that all in-flight products on-board the flight will be segregated and composted, reused or recycled.

As part of the green initiative, Qantas either removed or replaced 1,000 single-use plastic items used to serve the passengers with sustainable alternatives.

The alternative products aboard the flight are fully compostable. These include sugar cane meal containers and cutlery made from crop starch.

“This flight is about testing our products, refining the waste process and getting feedback from our customers.”

Qantas Domestic CEO Andrew David said: “In the process of carrying over 50 million people every year, Qantas and Jetstar currently produce an amount of waste equivalent to 80 fully laden Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

“We want to give customers the same level of service they currently enjoy, but without the amount of waste that comes with it.

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“This flight is about testing our products, refining the waste process and getting feedback from our customers.”

Other measures include digital boarding passes and electronic bag tags. The airline’s staff was readily available to ensure any paper passes and tags were sustainably disposed of.

Furthermore, multiple waste streams were installed at the carrier’s lounges at Sydney Airport’s domestic terminal.

Qantas and its wholly owned subsidiary Jetstar will use sustainable alternatives to replace 45 million plastic cups, 30 million cutlery sets, 21 million coffee cups and four million headrest covers. This is to achieve the 2020 target regarding the removal of single-use plastic items.

Qantas operated the first biofuel flight between Australia and the US last January. The biofuel used for the flight is processed from Brassica Carinata, a mustard seed, developed by Agrisoma Biosciences.

Last month, Etihad Airways operated a single-use plastic free flight, becoming the first airline in the Gulf region to do so.