PICS: What your in-flight meal tray could look like in the future

2019-10-08 11:50
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(i.e. if Air Chefs isn't still striking in 2030).

This week, the issue of 'vlugkos' was brought up following a strike by Air Chefs, an airline catering service that provides in-flight snacks and meals for local and international flights by South African Airways, SA Express, Mango, SA Airlink, Air Mauritius and Swiss Airlines. Almost like 'padkos', there were many conversations around what a DIY in-flight meal would look like. 

For domestic flights, a snack would do. But grabbing a few things from the airport's Woolies before boarding a long-haul flight means a lot of packaging. Wrappers upon wrappers of plastic. 

WATCH: What you should know about your carbon footprint while travelling

A new exhibition at London's Design Museum is envisioning a future of waste-free in-flight meal trays - and it looks pretty spectacular. Almost good enough to eat, in fact!

Imagine a tray made out of coffee grains, the dessert dish is a waffle cone (so an edible bowl essentially), algae skins to contain milk or salad dressing and the salad bowl is made entirely from a pressed banana leaf - all cheap and easily-available material, says BBC. You can have your meal and finish off by eating the tray! Zero waste achieved. 

Design firm, PriestmanGoode says the exhibition explores the issue of waste in air travel. "Each year, an estimated 5.7 million tonnes of cabin waste is generated on passenger flights, from single-use plastic to meal trays and earphones. Here, we’ve looked at how developments in eco materials, initiatives from suppliers and changes in consumer behaviour could transform our experience across all transport modes and lead us to a more sustainable industry."

READ: How SA airports (and some spekboom) are fighting long-haul 'flight shame' 

This is how much waste we go through per person on a one-way, long-haul flight:

In an effort to lower emissions, airlines like Qatar has plans in place to eliminate about 75% of their current waste within the next two years. And earlier this year, the airline made headlines when it flew from Sydney to Adelaide without producing any landfill waste. Alternative products were used, including containers made from sugar cane and cutlery made from crop starch - all of these were either compostable or recyclable. 

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