Japan Airlines to recycle all food waste into fertilizer

Aviation Updates Philippines – Japan Airlines (JAL) is planning to recycle all food waste into fertilizer as part of its efforts to reach its sustainability goals.

Photo by Alan Wilson

By 2025, JAL is aiming to recycle 100% of food and beverage waste from in-flight meals through composting, which will be used as fertilizer. JAL Royal Catering, a group company, will lead this initiative.

According to JAL Royal Catering, around 48 tons of vegetable waste was produced in 2019, but only 7.7 percent was recycled. As a solution, JAL will also begin taking a different approach to preparing food, and the number of meals prepared will be reduced.

Outside the kitchen, JAL hopes to address food loss by looking more closely into leftover meals and unused inventory. For instance, passengers who decide to cancel their in-flight meals before boarding will be given a free eye mask. JAL is hoping to implement this across all international flights by 2025.

In that same year, JAL is also hoping to eliminate single-use plastics in passenger cabins and airport lounges.

At present, the company has already taken steps to reduce the volume of packaging for in-flight meals and is now using recyclable material for its packaging.

Last year, JAL introduced its "JAL Ethical Choice - Meal Skip Option" for passengers on select flights who wish to sleep through the flight than wake up to eat. Passengers who choose to forego their meal would be given an upgraded amenity kit. This initiative was first introduced on flight JL34 — a red-eye flight from Bangkok to Tokyo-Haneda — in November of 2020 and has since been introduced on other flights to East and Southeast Asia, as well as Guam and Vladivostok.