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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

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.

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 in order to connect a prosperous earth to the next generation.

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)”

Efforts in the cabin and lounges

The JAL Group will move away from Single Use Plastics (FY19 result: 1,394 tons) of cabin and lounge service items as following processes.


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


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.).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 were changed to reusable synthetic leather in FY21. As a result, the use of new petroleum-derived raw materials was reduced by 86.4 tons compared to FY19.(*1)

Welcome drink cup of reuse type

Welcome drink cup of reuse type

Reused headrest covers with new materials

Reused headrest covers with new materials

*1 All areas that customers touch are disinfected, and headrest covers are also carefully disinfected to prevent the spread of infectious diseases,


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 that use internationally certified paper that takes forest resource management into consideration and wooden muddlers*. In addition, we have changed the plastic drink cups (241.2 tons) for economy class to certified paper cups.

drink cup

paper cup

paper cup

paper straw

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).


In accordance with the JAL Group Environmental Policy, JAL's own initiatives from the perspective of resource recycling include collection and sorting of in-flight waste by cabin crew and recycling of in-flight waste in cooperation with in-flight catering companies, recycling companies, paper container manufacturers, and others. As a result, PET bottles that would normally be incinerated (heat recovery) are recycled as resources for use by beverage manufacturers as recycled PET bottles (9.0 tons in FY21). In addition, cabin crew members sort aluminum cans and bottles on board the aircraft and deliver them to an industrial waste company for recycling as recyclable waste upon arrival.

Other efforts

Even when we purchase and provide commercial products as service items, we actively purchase products from suppliers that meet JAL's priorities. We have switched to 100% recycled PET bottle on all routes for the PET bottles of mineral water served with in-flight meals in corporation with Clear Water Tsunan Co., Ltd. (FY19 result: 4.0 tons). In addition, the cups for salads served in economy class have been changed to a type using recycled plastic. These efforts resulted in the curtailment of 2.2 tons of new petroleum-derived raw materials in FY21.

Efforts in the cabin and lounges


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.


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.

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" 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.

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

Based on the JAL Group's environmental policy, as JAL's unique initiative from the perspective of resource recycling, flight attendants collect and sort in-flight, and cooperate with paper(newspapers/ Inflight magazines), cans, PET- bottles recycling companies to recycle in-flight waste.
As a result, PET bottles, which would normally be incinerated (heat recovery), are circulated to recycled PET bottles from beverage manufacturers. In addition, flight 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

in-flight waste from JAL airplanes

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.

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

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

Used uniforms being handed over for reuse and recycling

Used uniforms being handed over for reuse and recycling

JAL staff cutting used uniforms for further processing

JAL staff cutting used uniforms for further processing

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.

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

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

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, while a break being downed for each factory, and monitoring the monthly food disposal of the JAL royal catering that is a caterer company. We are proud that our efforts are pioneering and challenging among airlines around the world, but we will work to further reduce emissions. Furthermore, we paid attention to the food loss & waste on the supply chain such as the post-harvest disposal and the disposal in the production in FY21 and wrestled in the reduction chiefly.

*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.


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). This service allows customers to demonstrate their willingness to refuse food waste and is the first airline in the world planning to introduce to all international routes. We aimed for unfolding on all lines by FY25 by the medium-term management plan, but provide our service on 19 lines of the middle short distance at the end of FY21, and we largely incline a plan forward and unfold on all remaining lines by FY23 summer.


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 and airplane entertainment video of the in-flight meal introduction 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


Recycling of cooking residual that the supply chain included

JAL Royal Catering*5, inflight meal's manufacturing subsidiary of the JAL Group, produces leftover during preparing inflight meal for international flights (34.3 tons, 34.1% of recycling rates by the inner composting as of FY21). We aimed at all residual exploitation of resources by the Middle plan by FY25 end, but I largely front-loaded a plan and started operation from 2022/6 and realized residual exploitation of resources of all recyclable. In cooperation with NTT business solutions company, other food companies, markets, we have built a scheme to circulate as resources. JRC ferment and deliver the cooking residual substance which occurred in JRC factory to the cycle company the first using an exclusive fermentation machine in JRC factory and compost with the cooperation of the farmhouse using these compost.

In addition, we might use processed ingredients in JRC, but, from the viewpoint of food disposal of whole supply chain reduction, JRC changed the procurement cord and recruited precut salad from the supplier who developed the residual substance which occurred in the process of the cut into resources. And JRC has changed the Supplier to reuse the edge materials as ground meat in the choice, the supplier and sell the supplier who is reused without the beginning materials occurring in the cut of the meat being discarded and am provided as a hamburger steak at restaurants of Okinawa.

*5 Aim of the outbreak basic unit" (the upper limit target depending on sales of the food disposal weight that I could not recycle) is set of 211 kg/sales (1 million yen) in the Foodstuff Recycling Law of  Japan, but is largely less than this aim in 3.6 kg/sales (1 million yen) and FY21 in JRC.
*6 As for some residual substance including the big rib of a husk and fishery products, the meat of 6 shellfishes, composting and feed do not have making it it, but all these residual substance performs heat destruction by fire heat collection (thermal recycling). In addition, the waste oil (6.2 tons of FY21 results) recycles it to gross quantity soap in a recycling company

promotion of “"recycling-oriented” vegetables

  • "recycling-oriented" vegetables produced by composting vegetable waste generated during food processing are not widely distributed yet, but we using them in inflight meal. 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.

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


We wrestle in reduction of the food disposal in a supply chain in discarded ingredients and devising reuse, the inflection of the food.

Reuse of the crops out of the standard

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.

Utilization non-edible parts

Our employee suggest a bottom up-shaped measure to realize the food disposal reduction  with the cause of the slogan called " Lets' do Ethical Sky !”. They gave us in particular the point where a non-edible part discarded in processes such as not only the disposal of part eaten for the food disposal but also production or the distribution is included in that pays attention. It leads to the food disposal reduction on the supply chain to plan this utilization.

Specifically, nutritive value is high in the stem of the broccoli and is discarded in comparison with the broccoli body again at the verges such as a crop or the processing though it stands comparison even with a tasty soup (“Farmer's Soup”). Only as for the stem this in the lounge we contribute to bringing about not only the reduction of the food disposal but also a new economic value by originally buying a discarded stem in value, and utilizing it from the farmhouse of the neighborhood of Narita Airport.

In addition, I usually use all the parts such as skin of and a core, a sheath or the kind of vegetables discarded in a process of production, the processing "ZENB"(means “ALL”) and provide ZENB JAPAN of the Mizkan group and “ ZENB SWEETS“ which I developed jointly in (First Class) in the plane more to be able to enjoy vegetables original taste.

Paprika sable

Paprika sable

Beetroot sable

Beetroot sable

green soybeans corn Macaroon

green soybeans/corn Macaroon

Food contribution to the welfare councils

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.

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