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Effective Use of Limited Resources

Basic Concept

  • To fulfill our responsibility to pass on our precious Earth to the next generation, the JAL Group aims to become a recycling-based society that uses limited resources effectively.
  • To promote the effective use of limited resources, we will practice the 4Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) to reduce food waste and eliminate petroleum-derived single-use plastics products in all aspects of our business, which will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • To achieve this, we will work with our customers to reduce food waste and eliminate the use of plastic products at every touchpoint including our cabins, and reduce food waste in supply chains.

Reduction of Plastic Usage

Most of single-use 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*1. It is also said that the amount of CO2 generated when petrochemical resources are used and produced is approximately 1.89 times the amount of plastic produced*2. However, CO2 is also emitted when waste is incinerated, and petrochemical plastics are one of the reasons which cause global climate change*3. Japan has been reported as the second highest country per capita emission of disposable plastic in the world*4, and there is also concern about the potential adverse effects of chemicals associated with plastics*5.

It is essential to review the conventional social system of mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal, and to transform it into the "Circular Economy" in order to pass on our precious Earth to the next generation.

The JAL Group is addressing this issue by establishing its own "Priorities for Resource Circulation" based on the JAL Group Environmental Policy, and with expert advice from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan and JALUX, has developed alternative material solutionsPDFthat take into account sustainability, biodiversity, recyclability, resource efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions during recycling.

Priorities for Resource Circulation

Through the promotion of the 3R (Reduce/Reuse/Recycle) +1 (Redesign), we have set a goal of eliminating all new petroleum-derived single-use plastics in our cabins and lounges and changing 100% of our single-use plastics used in airports and cargo to environmentally friendly materials by FY2025.

*1 ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics”
*2 CIEL(Center for International Environmental Law)“Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet(2019)”
*3 World Economy Forum “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics (2016)”
*4 UNEP(United Nations Environment Programme)“Single-use Plastics: A roadmap for Sustainability(2018)”
*5 UNEP(United Nations Environment Programme)「Chemicals in Plastics - A Technical Report(2023)

Efforts in the cabin and lounges

JAL Group has been reduced its single-use plastic service items for cabins and lounges by a total of 45% by the end of FY2022 (vs. FY2019 result: 1,813 tons), and we will eliminate all new petroleum-derived single-use plastics by FY2025.


As for single-use plastics, it is important to first review the necessity of its service items and eliminate unnecessary plastic products in line with actual service conditions. For example, we stopped providing razor set that was already on board.

Although it is not possible to abolish the use of plastic, it is possible to reduce it by changing the form of service by changing the way of thinking. For example, in the lounge, the use of plastic wrapping material itself has been eliminated by introducing hand towel dispensers. The individual packaging of snacks has also been eliminated, and customers are encouraged to take them with a spoon, thereby reducing the amount of plastic. Both of these initiatives are being gradually rolled out to self-owned lounges in Japan starting in 2022.

Wet towel dispenser

Snacks without individual packaging


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 plastic products that cannot be reduced for reuse and designing products so that they can be reused. The welcome drink cup of business class has been changed from the conventional disposable to a reuse type that can be washed and used many times. In addition, seat covers used to be made of single-use plastic (non-woven fabric), but headrest covers for all classes of international and domestic flights have been replaced to reusable synthetic leather.

Welcome drink cup of reuse type

Reinforced and reusable welcome drink cup of reuse type

Reused headrest covers with new materials

Reusable headrest covers with new materials


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. The JAL Group aims to switch to products that do not use any raw materials derived from petrochemical processes, and to materials that make effective use of resources. The JAL Group calls this "Redesign". Based on our "alternative material solutionsPDF", we are "Redesigning" various items based on the "Alternative Materials Solution" and converting to materials that do not use new petroleum-derived materials.

certified paper cups & lid

certified paper cups & lid

certified paper appetizer containers, lids and tray mat

certified paper appetizer containers, lids and tray mat

100% recycled plastic bowl lid

100% recycled plastic bowl lid

100% plant-derived lounge rice ball packaging material

100% plant-derived lounge rice ball packaging material

100% plant-based inflight shopping bag

100% plant-based inflight shopping bag


Horizontal recycling, which recycles a resource into a product for the same use as it was before recycling, is said to be very efficient in terms of resource efficiency because the characteristics of the resource can be reused as is, but to achieve this, it is essential to work with companies that possess superior recycling technology.

When the aircraft arrives, the used plastic bottles are usually incinerated (energy recovery), but as JAL's own initiative, the cabin attendants sort them on board, and inflight meal companies have the technology to recycle them. Recycling is carried out in cooperation with the company, and "horizontal recycling" into recycled plastic bottles for beverage manufacturers has been realized.

Other efforts

Even when we purchase and provide commercial products as service items, we actively purchase products from suppliers that meet JAL's priorities for resource circulation. With the cooperation of Clear Water Tsunan Co.,Ltd, the JAL Group uses 100% recycled plastic bottles for the mineral water and the salad cups served in economy class to those made from recycled plastic.

Efforts in airports and cargo


After September 1st, 2021 for international flights (both to and from Japan) and October 1st ,2021 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.

The JAL Group has implemented initiatives to minimize the utilization of petroleum-derived products, which contribute to global warming and marine pollution. As part of these efforts, the JAL Group ceased the provision of non-woven carry-on baggage storage bags on domestic flights and at airports in January 2024.

To support this eco-friendly endeavor, we kindly request customers who wish to protect their baggage to prepare their own baggage covers. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us reduce our environmental impact and create a more sustainable future.


When transporting daily essentials such as pharmaceuticals and food products, the JAL Group uses polyethylene sheets to protect the products from water damage. We are switching these plastic materials from new 100% petroleum-derived products to products containing environmentally friendly materials.

Also, to ensure these plastics are not disposed of as waste, we have supplied them to RIPRO Corporation, a company that manufactures and sells recycled land markers used in land registry investigations and other products.
Equipped with RFID tags, they have been installed in tourist spots to provide information related to the spot to visitors via their smartphones, which is contributing to regional revitalization.

In addition, we have begun recycling into plastic bags for airport deployment (NARITA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT CORPORATION).

Collaboration with Stakeholders

"Plastic Circular Challenge 2025"

The JAL Group has announced its participation in the "Plastic Circular Challenge 2025Open link in a new window(Japanese Only)" organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature Japan (WWF Japan) in February 2022.

We accelerate our challenge to reduce Single Use Plastics by promoting initiatives related to containers and packaging and Single Use Plastics through dialogue with WWF Japan and other companies.

For the press release, please click here.

Reducing Food Loss & Waste

It is estimated that approximately 40% of the world's food is lost or wasted*1, while greenhouse gas emissions from the entire food system, including production, transportation, processing, distribution, and disposal, account for 21-37% of global emissions*2 and are responsible for up to 80% of biodiversity loss*3. Food waste is now a serious global issue, and in order to fulfill our responsibility to pass on the precious Earth to the next generation, it is an essential social responsibility to reduce loss & waste in the entire food system.

The JAL Group has been implementing initiatives (the "JAL Food Loss & Waste 4R Program") from the perspective of resource recycling. While monitoring and analyzing the amount of food waste for each food category on monthly basis*4, we are also working on the effective use of food resources by recycling and reusing waste food in the cooking process and supply chain.

JAL's initiatives are pioneering and challenging among airlines worldwide, and we will continue to work toward further reductions.

*2 IPCC Special report “Global warming of 1.5℃”
*3 United Nations ”Statement of Action on the UN Food Systems Summit” (2021)
*4 Our food loss & waste data are compiled based on the "Food Loss & Waste Protocol" proposed by the WRI(World Resources Institute.


Reduction is being implemented throughout the entire food life-stage cycle (purchasing - preparation - serving - disposal). JAL Royal Catering (hereinafter referred to as "JRC"), an inflight meal preparation company, analyzes the amount of food waste generated each month by food category, and is working to further reduce food loss by devising cooking methods, more appropriate stock/buying control, and analyzing reservation numbers.

Due to quarantine rules, it is a global regulation that all leftover food must be incinerated, and we cannot recycle into compost or animal feed. Therefore, as JAL's own initiative, JAL has been asking customers to cooperate in reducing leftover food by stating on menu cards for all inflight routes and in videos introducing inflight meals in the inflight entertainment system that "Reducing food loss and waste also reduces CO2 emissions and keeps the Earth clean".

JAL Group's Message to Customers on the menu card


Since July 2022, JRC composts all recyclable food loss/residues from the cooking process of in-flight meals utilizing a scheme, collaboration with NTT Business Solutions, other food companies, markets, etc. All food loss and the cooking residues generated at JRC are composted through primary fermentation using a dedicated fermentation machine in the JRC plant.
In addition, we are recycling all food loss of our supply chain. When JRC purchases processed food ingredients, it sources only from suppliers who compost the residues generated in the cutting process, and it offers in-flight meal menus that feature “Recycling-oriented vegetables” produced with the compost as ingredients. Our suppliers recycle meat scraps from the meat cutting process into ground meat, which is then served as hamburgers at restaurants in Okinawa and other locations.

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

*5 Some residues, such as shellfish shells and thick bones of seafood and meat, cannot be composted or turned into animal feed, but all of these residues are subject to thermal incineration and heat recovery (thermal recycling). In addition, the waste oil is recycled to gross quantity soap in recycling companies.


JAL is working to reduce food waste by reusing and utilizing crops and foods that are discarded at the production stage, which is the upstream of the entire food system. JAL is working to reduce this harvest loss by reusing and utilizing crops and foods that would otherwise be discarded at the production stage, which is at the very upstream of the entire food system. For example, broccoli stems, despite their high nutritional value and taste comparable to broccoli itself, are discarded during harvest. The lounge offered the "Farmer's Soup" made entirely from broccoli stems from July 2022 to March 2023. The second "Farmer's Soup" is made from onion peels that would otherwise be discarded.

Workers at broccoli growers
and processors

"Farmer's Soup"
reused broccoli stems

"Farmer's Soup" the second
reused onion peel

In addition, we use all parts of vegetables that are normally discarded during the production and processing process, such as the skin, core, pods, and seeds ("ZENB" meaning "whole" in Japanese), to provide the original flavor of the vegetable, which we developed jointly with ZENB JAPAN Co. ("ZENB SWEETS"), a Mizkan Group company, so that customers can enjoy the original flavor of vegetables.

Paprika sable

Beetroot sable

Green soybeans corn Macaroon

Even though farmers passionately grow their products, if the crops are deformed or have irregularities in shape, they must be discarded because they are deemed "non-standard crops” (out of the shipping standard). As part of this effort to reduce such post-harvest loss, we have been using out-of-spec sweet potatoes that would normally be discarded to make “shochu”. This year, since we were unable to make “shochu” (Japanese distilled liquor) due to procurement of raw materials (rice malt), we are offering soup that reuses the sweet potatoes at our lounge from Summer 2023.

JAL is working to establish a permanent scheme for surplus inflight meal donations through local government welfare councils and other organizations.


  • In our analysis of food waste data, we confirmed that certain customers who prefer to forego their meal or prefer smaller portions, especially on late-night flights. For this reason, we introduced an inflight meal advanced cancellation service ("JAL Meal Skip Option").This service allows customers who prefer to opt-out of the meal service to apply for the service, which in-turn lessens food waste. Japan Airlines is the first airline in the world to introduce this service onto all international routes.
    To ensure we give back in connection with the meal-skip service option, Japan Airlines has partnered with "TABLE FOR TWO (TFT) Program," Japan's first social contribution program by the non-profit organization TABLE FOR TWO International. For each inflight meal voluntarily canceled by customers, the airline will donate a certain amount of money to TFT, which will be used for school lunch programs for children in developing countries suffering from hunger.

Recycling of Inflight Waste

Based on the JAL Group's environmental policy, as JAL's unique initiative from the perspective of resource recycling, cabin attendants collect and sort inflight, and cooperate with recycling companies to recycle inflight waste.

In cooperation with in-flight catering companies and recycling companies, we recycle in-flight waste such as aluminum cans, PET bottles, newspapers, and inflight magazines. PET bottles, which would normally be incinerated (Energy recovery), are circulated to recycled PET bottles from beverage manufacturers. In addition, cabin attendants separate aluminum cans and bottles on board, and after arrival, hand them over to an industrial waste company for recycling.

drink cup

garbage box at JAL Royal Catering

paper cup

inflight waste from JAL airplanes
PET bottles, aluminum cans and glass bottles

Since December 2022, in collaboration with Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd., the JAL Group has started recycling paper cups used in domestic inflight services on some of the flights departing from and arriving at Haneda Airport. Recycling used beverage paper products was said to be difficult because of the plastic coating and food residues remaining on the surface. The JAL Group has made it possible to recycle used paper cups by creating a unique recycle chain whereby paper cups used for inflight services are properly sorted and collected by the JAL Group, and then transported, accumulated, baled, and recycled by the Nippon Paper Group using advanced technology. Currently, paper cups are collected on some of the routes, however subject routes will be expanded in the future. The JAL Group works on recycling into cardboard, etc., and aims to achieve horizontal recycling, whereby paper cups are recycled into paper cups.

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.

This table can be scrolled horizontally.
Aircraft maintenance shop (Narita, Haneda, Osaka)
Reduction target year-over-year 1% reduction
(Amount discharged
from Haneda and Narita
wastewater treatment facilities)
Fiscal year Water consumption (㎥) year-over-year (%) Industrial wastewater (㎥)
2018 98,777 - 16,783
2019 88,822 ▲10.1 18,092
2020 74,157 ▲16.5 15,046
2021 76,646 3.4 17,226
2022 74,768 ▲2.5 16,518

Water supply reduction measures

  • Reduced use of cold and hot water by shortening heating and cooling operation time
  • Changing the flow rate from hand washing stations and lavatory washing tanks
  • Reuse of treated water when cleaning water tanks at washing machine wastewater treatment facilities
  • Implementation of water-saving posters and appeals

Other Initiatives

Promoting Paperless

JAL Group promotes paperless by eliminating paper-based manuals for pilots and cabin attendants, as well as promoting remote meetings through work style innovation, and reduces paper waste in business, as well as improving operational efficiency.

In the cargo business, we are contributing to paperless operations and improvement of operational efficiency through digitizing the master air waybill and accompanying documents, which is our transportation contract with customers.

Reduce, reuse and recycle office fixtures

The JAL Group implements various resource recycling activities such as Non territorial office. In conjunction with this, the JAL Group promotes the reuse and recycling of furniture and other items that are no longer needed.

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