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Good management of our resources is important to our way of doing business. As an airline, we have implemented a wide range of practices to reduce, reuse or recycle the waste we generate both in the air and on the ground. 

As an airline, our activities generate waste – be it in the air or on the ground.

In terms of airline cabin waste alone, airlines have been involved in recycling for years and have today reached significant results. At Cathay Pacific, we have recycled 33,244 kilograms of aluminum cans, 29,609 kilograms of plastic bottles, and 22,050 kilograms of plastic cups in 2011. We also reuse menu covers that are in good condition.

However, a research conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2011 indicated that a lot more can be achieved with greater cooperation across the value chain, with governments, airports, manufacturers, and suppliers. For example, animal health and quarantine laws in many countries simply prevent recycling from international flights. 


In order to manage the different types of waste generated by our operations, we have set up tailored approaches to each one of them.  

Reducing Hazardous Waste

Hazardous chemicals are used in our ongoing operations, such as in fire extinguishing equipment or paints. In order to reduce the production of hazardous wastes, we continue to explore the introduction of more sustainable products or processes into our operation. We also provide training and updates to staff on the handling procedures for the use and disposal of chemicals, equipment and waste.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Inflight

Onboard, we focus our efforts on sorting and reusing or recycling newspapers, inflight magazines, plastic and aluminum beverage containers and cutlery. We also request that our caterers operate similar recycling systems in their operations where possible.

We also have been examining ways to streamline meals equipment use and reduce leftover food through a careful process of planning, forecasting and consultation with passengers and cabin crew.



Waste Management on The Ground and Across Our Subsidiaries

At our headquarter buildings – Cathay Pacific City and Cathay Dragon House – we have implemented waste management practices and recycling bins for paper, cans, plastic bottles, toner cartridges and batteries.

Our subsidiaries which provide ground aviation services and generate significant amounts of waste also implement waste management systems and initiatives, including:

  • In 2010, Hong Kong Airport Services Limited (HAS) developed and implemented a Waste Management Plan
  • Cathay Pacific Catering Services (HK) Limited (CPCS) implements tight food portioning control processes and launched a programme to donate food waste to a local pig farm in an effort to reduce the amount of food waste

Retiring Our Aircraft

When an aircraft retires from our fleet, we work closely with the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA) to find ways of salvaging, recycling or reusing aircraft parts and materials. A large proportion of the components can be re-certified and reused during maintenance, or sold on to other users.

Our progress so far

To learn more about our initiatives and our progress in managing waste, please read our annual Sustainable Development Reports.