Waste Management in Aviation– Recycling Is Not Enough

Ann-Kathrin Arp, Jan Kiehne, Matthias Dünnweber, Katrin Marquardt, Raphael Murswieck


Due to the environmental challenges associated with the strong growth of plastic waste worldwide new grounds have to be broken. In public belief plastic is considered a practical, hygienic material that could be recycled into new plastic after use. However, disposed plastic is not recycled for the most part but is landfilled or used for waste-to-energy. Especially, the outcome of landfill is pollution and marine litter. Based on the plastic waste in the ocean, the problem of microplastic gains in importance.

Through tourism – a critical factor – a growth of plastic waste can be registered, e. g. especially air traffic is highly dependent on efficient and easily disposed material. Plastic is the product of choice. Exemplified on a closer examination of one airline makes already almost 45 millions passengers, whose meals and beverages come with plastic. So, aviation includes substantial waste-saving potential throughout different alternatives to avoid plastic. The authors show the actual situation and demonstrate ways to reduce plastic waste in the context of economic efficiency. The conclusion bears the most eco-friendly alternative for air traffic and gives an outlook on further research.


Sustainable tourism, Green Economy, Waste Management, Ecotourism, Sustainable aviation, plastic pollution


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