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Effective Use of Limited Resources

Basic Concept

To reduce its environmental impact and contribute to realize resource-recycling society, the JAL Group promotes the 4Rs* in all aspects of its business, in accordance with the JAL Group Environmental Policy.

*4R: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduction of Plastic Usage

After September 1st for international flights (both to and from Japan) and October 1st for domestic flights, we are no longer offering plastic bags for check-in baggage to reduce disposable plastic products, which cause global warming and marine pollution.
We ask for your cooperation to take care that your baggage is properly and securely packed for transport.

Most of disposable plastics are compounds made from resources derived from petrochemical processes, and since they are not biodegradable and remain in the natural environment unless incinerated, they have caused serious damage to the marine ecosystem by marine plastic pollution. It is also said that the amount of CO2 generated when petrochemical resources are used and produced is approximately 1.8 times the amount of plastic produced*1. However, CO2 is also emitted when waste is incinerated, and petrochemical plastics are one of the reasons which cause global climate change*2.

Japan has been reported as the second highest country per capita emission of disposable plastic in the world*3. In order to realize a society in which future generations can live in abundance, it is essential to review the conventional social system of mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal, and to transform it into a recycling-oriented society that improves the environment, economy, and society in an integrated manner.

JAL, which has set an important key management goal of connecting a prosperous earth to the next generation, will strive to “break away from Single-Use and petrochemical origin” by FY25 regarding to disposable plastics in the cabin and lounge of approximately 120 items and 1,263 tons*4,

This process is not easy due to differences in national laws and regulations, compliance with fire resistance and durability during in-flight heating and dish washing, sanitary constraints, and security requirements. However, in all services using disposable plastics provided to customers, we will review the specifications of each plastic packaging and container, change them to reusable materials, and change materials from petrochemical origin (natural materials such as wood and paper, recycled plastic materials, recyclable materials made from plant-derived waste, compostable materials, etc.) to address these issues.

*1 CIEL (Center for International Environmental Law)
“Plastic and Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet (2019)”
*2 Japan Ministry of the Environment
“Annual Report on the Environment, the Sound Material-Cycle Society and Biodiversity in Japan 2020”
*3 United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP)
“Single-use plastics: A roadmap for sustainability (2018)”
*4 Of the 1,754 tons of disposable plastics used in-flight and lounge services, the amount given to customers. is 1,262 tons (FY 19 result).

Efforts in the cabin and lounges

As an effort to move away from petrochemical-derived disposable plastic products of cabin and lounge service items, JAL has created a unique program based on the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) + 1R (Redesign) from the perspective of resource recycling.

Reduce

As for disposable plastics, it is important to first review the necessity of its service items and eliminate unnecessary plastic products in line with actual service conditions. This year, for example, the company scrapped a 0.1 ton razor set that was already on board.

If we can't do away with it, but we can reduce it by changing the way we think about service style. For example, a bottle of Soba dipping sauce (4.9 tons) used to be served with Japanese Soba, was not simply reduced in size or thickness, but was instead served as gelée, a drastic overhaul of the service style. We have already changed to gelee on some routes, but as soon as we run out of stock of the soba dipping sauce bottle, we will achieve reduction completely.

Soba noodles served with gelée

Soba dipping sauce bottle

Reuse

  • Effective utilization of resources and their repeated use over a long period of time represent a move away from disposable. It is extremely important from the viewpoint of resource management to review specifications and design products so that plastic products that cannot be reduced can be reused. The welcome drink cup (0.3 tons) of business class has been changed from the conventional disposable to a Reuse type that can be washed and used many times (The welcome drink service is currently suspended due to the worldwide spread of COVID-19.). We are also working to finalize the specifications of the Reuse type lid (70.2 tons) for our Economy Class salad and dessert cups.

  • Welcome drink cup of reuse type

Redesign

  • If disposable is to continue with various constraints such as hygiene, it is necessary not only to change the materials, but also to consider the sustainability of alternative materials. We aim to switch to products that do not use any raw materials derived from petrochemical processes, and to materials that make effective use of resources. We call this "Redesign.

    In 2019, JAL discontinued the provision of plastic straws and muddlers (5.1 tons in total) for all routes and switched to paper straws or wooden muddlers that use FSC® certified paper*. In addition, we have changed the plastic drink cups (241.2 tons) for economy class to FSC® certified paper cups.

  • Paper straw and drink cup, FSC® certified

At present, we are preparing to switch from economy-class food containers (149.8 tons) to recyclable materials. We plan to make effective use of plant-derived materials, such as bagasse (residue from the squeezing of sugarcane), that are normally discarded as recyclable resources.

Horizontal recycling (recycling to the same use products as before recycling, like “bottle to bottle”) is very resource efficient because it enables the reuse of the characteristics of resources. We are also considering the use of recycled plastics (see "Other efforts" below for plans for commercial products).

* FSC® certification is an international third-party certification system to show that appropriate forest management is performed, and at JAL, only service supplies are certified. FSC® certification is defined as a sustainable procurement code for all paper products. We are asking you to obtain FSC® distribution (CoC) certification. (this information is provided under the official FSC® Promotion License (FSC® N003038)

Recycle

For items that disposable cannot avoid due to hygienic or security reasons, it is important to thoroughly separate and dispos of in order to recycle. However, PET bottle waste that is discharged when an aircraft arrives is normally incinerated in Japan. From the viewpoint of resource recycling, JAL has a unique program in which cabin attendant separates its waste for collection and recycles it with the cooperation of inflight meal Corporation and a recycling company. The recycled PET bottles are now used by beverage manufacturers (26.0 tons). In this way, in order to promote recycling, it is essential for the company itself to sort and collect waste and establish recycling schemes as much as possible in cooperation with industrial waste disposal companies.

If incineration is unavoidable for reasons such as hygiene, we will switch to A-PET resin. A-PET resin is easy to recycle because it is made from a single material, has as low combustion calories as wood when incinerated, does not generate toxic gas, and is considered to have the lowest environmental impact among general-purpose resins. By doing so, we will promote the discharge of recyclable waste with low environmental impact.

Other efforts

Even when we purchase and provide commercial products as service items, we actively purchase products from suppliers that meet JAL's priorities. In August 2020, we began phased introduction of 100% recycled PET bottle to replace the 4.0 ton PET bottle of mineral water supplied with inflight meal on board for all routes.

Promoting Paperless

The JAL Group is promoting paperless by using iPads to eliminate paper manuals for pilots and cabin attendants. By promoting paperless meetings through workstyle innovation, we reduce paper waste in business, as well as improving operational efficiency.

Recycling of In-flight Waste

The JAL Group has been working to recycle in-flight waste since 1993. Specified procedures for recycling beverage cans, newspapers, in-flight magazines, and plastic bottles have been established to ensure that it is carried out. We also continue to work with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and airport companies on a comprehensive approach to in-flight waste management.

Recycling Uniforms to Sound Insulating Materials for Vehicles

The JAL Group has been recycling uniforms for maintenance engineers and others since 2013. Used uniforms are collected and sent to an external recycling factory, where textiles and materials are selected, shredded, and converted to cotton fiber. It is reused widely as sound insulating material to reduce noise in the engine compartment and the cabin of vehicles.
Also, recycling is carried out in the office, such as reusing old uniforms as cloths to wipe grease and dirt in machinery, creating bags to use in daily business, and creating reusable bags for employees to use for buying lunch to reduce plastic.

Used uniforms being handed over for reuse and recycling

JAL staff cutting used uniforms for further processing

Uniforms being cut to create cloths for wiping grease and dirt in machinery

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Furniture in Office

JAL Group is promoting Non territorial office. We are promoting the reuse and recycling of furniture and other items that are no longer needed.

Recycling of Cargo Packing Materials

When transporting daily essentials such as pharmaceuticals and food products, the JAL Group uses polyethylene sheets to protect the products from water damage. To ensure these plastics are not disposed of as waste, for around 40 years we have supplied them to RIPRO Corporation, a company that manufactures and sells recycled land markers used in land registry investigations and other products Information eco markers are one such example.
Equipped with RFID tags, they have been installed in a number of tourist spots to provide information related to the spot to visitors via their smartphones, which is contributing to regional revitalization.

Saving Water Resources

The JAL Group strives to work on reducing water use and water conservation to handle water resource issues.
Approximately 240 m³ of purified water used in ship maintenance and repaired components is recycled and recirculated per day in sewage facility.
Industrial liquid waste strictly follows laws and regulations, and water quality is ketp thoroughly according to standards in effluent treatment facilities established together with maintenace facilities. We do not use factory water. Some ground facilities are working on using recycled water and saving water.

Reducing Food Loss & Waste

Today, approximately 1/3 of all food products in the world are lost or disposed of*1, and 17%*2 are disposed of at the consumption stage alone. Food waste is a waste of resources used in production, such as land, water, energy, and materials. Producing food that is never consumed not only impairs the economic value of the food, but also leads to unnecessary CO2 emissions, and it is estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from the entire food system, including production, distribution, processing, and disposal, account for as much as 21 ~ 37% of global emissions*3. Food waste is now a serious global issue, and efforts to reduce it have become an indispensable social responsibility in order to realize a "decarbonized" society.

As part of its efforts to reduce food waste, JAL has developed a program (JAL‘s FLW: Food Loss & Waste) that conforms to the 3R(Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) + 1R(Refuse) from the perspective of resource recycling, and is actively working to reduce food waste associated with meals served on flights and in lounges. We are proud that our efforts are pioneering and challenging among airlines around the world, but we will work to further reduce emissions.

*1 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) "Global Food Losses and Food Waste (2011)" and " The State of Food and Agriculture 2019"
*2 United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) "Food Waste Index Report 2021"
*3 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "Special Report on Climate Change and Land" (2019)
*4 The term refers to surplus reservations caused by a discrepancy between the inflight meal number and the actual number of passengers. Inflight meal is based on reservations numbers.

Refuse

  • In our analysis of food waste data, we were able to confirm that there is several customers who does not need a meal or leaves a lot to eat, especially on late-night flights. For this reason, we introduced inflight meal's advance cancellation Reception Service ("JAL Ethical Choice ~Meal Skip Option~"Open link in a new window) last November. This service allows customers to demonstrate their willingness to refuse food waste and is the first airline in the world to do so. Although this service is currently available for some routes, we will expand the applicable routes and develop this service

Reduce

We are working to develop menus that customers can enjoy and eat up, with the aim of reducing food residues through creative cooking, reducing waste meal, and reducing leftover food. However, due to the reasons in quarantine, it is stipulated worldwide that all leftover food should be incinerated and cannot be recycled into compost or feed.

So, as a unique initiative of JAL, we ask our customers to cooperate in reducing leftover food by stating on the menu cards of all routes that it is "Reducing food loss and waste also reduces CO2 emissions and keeps the Earth clean". We will further promote the reduction of food waste by expanding and continuing these efforts. 

JAL Group's Message to Customers on the menu card

Recycle

  • JAL Royal Catering*5, inflight meal's manufacturing subsidiary of the JAL Group, produces approximately 150 tons per year of leftover during preparing inflight meal for international flights (as of 2019). We started recycling (composting) in 2020 (total from January to March: 11.8 tons), and by fiscal 2025 we aim to compost thorough recycling of all cooking residue at Narita and Haneda.
    In addition, "recycling-oriented" vegetables produced by composting vegetable waste generated during food processing are not widely distributed yet, but we started using them in inflight meal this summer. This initiative not only promotes the realization of the "Circular economy", but also contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions associated with food transport through local production for local consumption using agricultural products produced in the vicinity of Narita Airport.

    *5 JAL Royal Catering's target amount of waste specified by the Food Recycling Law is below the upper limit. Actual waste volume of 2,358 tons/year (FY 19 results (including partially estimated data) compared to the target value of 3,417 tons/year

  • Inflight meal with "recycled" spinach.
    Fumiko's SDGs western menu ~
    Dish from the” The Future 50 Foods”

Reuse

We are also working on ways to reuse and utilize food materials and foods that would otherwise be discarded.
Even though farmers grow with affection, if the crops have distortion or scratches on the shape, they must be discarded because they become "non-standard crops” (out of the shipping standard). We are currently preparing to regularly serve and utilize non-standard vegetables and fruits, which have been sanitarily prepared and frozen and the expiration dates have been extended, in desserts such as inflight meal within this fiscal year. Efforts to promote the reuse of agricultural products, which are supposed to be disposed of, also contribute to the community by converting non-valuable agricultural products into valuable products.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also threatened the food and nutrition of vulnerable groups, particularly in Japan, such as fatherless families, due to poverty caused by economic and employment stagnation. JAL is working to establish a regular scheme for donations of surplus inflight meal through local government welfare councils.

Topics

  • At Itami Airport, JAL employees compost food waste of Lounge And they are raising marigold flowers with children at a nearby kindergarten.

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