Should BA ditch the plastic cutlery?

Reply

Old Jan 23, 18, 2:46 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Wedged somewhere between BTS and VIE ✈
Programs: Star Alliance Gold (A3 Gold)
Posts: 5,408
Should BA ditch the plastic cutlery?



Given the big debate at the moment about plastic waste, isn't it time that BA ditched the plastic knives and forks in economy in favour of metal cutlery? I know it's only a tiny amount in the big picture, but even so they must throw away tens of thousands of the things everyday. Are they recycled?

Metal cutlery is always better anyway, other (more premium!?) airlines use it. But is this something BA should be looking at for environmental reasons?

Something different to discuss!
headingwest is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 2:50 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: London, UK
Programs: BA Gold, AirBnb 700x Platinum, AC (never again)
Posts: 203
Originally Posted by headingwest View Post
I know it's only a tiny amount in the big picture, but even so they must throw away tens of thousands of the things everyday.
On a flying vehicle, using tonnes of fuel per hour; it really isn't that big an issue.
Logistically, it would require carrying a lot more weight; and an entire system to collect the used cutlery; wash it and reunite it with each vehicle.

All at an airline that is cutting costs by eliminating a flower in the bathroom.
YacozA is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 2:51 am
  #3  
V10
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Provincie Antwerpen, Vlaanderen, BelgiŽ
Programs: MUCCI Gold
Posts: 2,318
The less plastic the better, in my view. No doubt there will be considerations such as weight saving, security, additional costs of collecting and washing used cutlery and so on though.

If BA was sensible it would be taking this seriously none the less - for positive PR reasons and given it has a large fleet of heavily polluting 747s.
V10 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 2:53 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Surrey
Programs: BAEC - Silver
Posts: 237
Wood?
orbitmic and missdimeaner like this.
TheFlyingCyclist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 3:07 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Brexile in ADB
Programs: BA, TK, HHonours, Le Club, Best Western Rewards
Posts: 5,390
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCyclist View Post
Wood?
You want BA to give you wood? Each to their own I suppose...
Worcester is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 3:08 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: London, U.K.
Programs: bmi British Midland International Diamond Club
Posts: 3,176
There should not be any plastic in Premium. I detest the low quality plastic cutlery used on the second meal service in Premium, on Virgin they give you metal for both meal services (and they don't remove the tiny pot of bircher muesli for brekkie on a 12hr flight as a cost cutting measure). Look at Qantas, business class crockery, glasses, napkins and utensils for all meal services in Premium. Not even a paper cup. And their paper cups in Y are double the size and quality of BA.

I had the rice porridge for brekkie on BA a few times, they can't even supply a proper sized plastic spoon. You get a teaspoon in all the cutlery packs, mainly for dessert. Since you can't eat rice porridge with a fork you would think a larger plastic spoon might be a good idea. But not on BA. These plastic cutlery packs, with condiments like sugar, salt and pepper, and toilet thin paper napkin are cheap and I detest them. Cathay Pacific at least had high quality utensils and napkins when I last flew with them in Y (intra-Asia). In Premium they have metal cutlery and at least I can enjoy my rice porridge without having to eat it like a baby.
Strawb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 5:14 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: London
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 646
Originally Posted by Worcester View Post
You want BA to give you wood? Each to their own I suppose...
If they are going to continue with disposable cutlery, then biodegradable wooden cutlery (google it, there's nothing wrong with it) would be an improvement, although probably more expensive, which would no doubt rule it out from BA's perspective.
missdimeaner and headingwest like this.
cosmo74 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 5:25 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Brexile in ADB
Programs: BA, TK, HHonours, Le Club, Best Western Rewards
Posts: 5,390
Originally Posted by cosmo74 View Post
If they are going to continue with disposable cutlery, then biodegradable wooden cutlery (google it, there's nothing wrong with it) would be an improvement, although probably more expensive, which would no doubt rule it out from BA's perspective.
No doubt, in fact, I have some wooden knives. I was though making a double entendre.
Kgmm77 likes this.
Worcester is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 6:11 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: UK
Programs: BAEC (blue), VS Flying Club (red), Hotels.com (silver!), IHG, Amex, TopCashback, Tesco...
Posts: 77
I think I remember from one of the LHR documentaries that (some) dry waste off aircraft gets incinerated and heat and power for the airport is recovered. I’m sure the “system” at outstations in the developing world, or anywhere to be fair could be more dubious...
I carry my own bamboo/wood cutlery and steel straw around and about to allow me to refuse plastic but onboard admittedly not personally sending a cutlery pack or two to waste is a challenge.

Airlines etc could easily do a lot better I hope they are made to quit disposable plastic before very long.
hedgehopper is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 6:12 am
  #10  
2018 Secret Santa
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: LHR
Programs: BA Silver
Posts: 116
Originally Posted by cosmo74 View Post
If they are going to continue with disposable cutlery, then biodegradable wooden cutlery (google it, there's nothing wrong with it) would be an improvement, although probably more expensive, which would no doubt rule it out from BA's perspective.
Wood poses other issues, as some countries have strict controls of what wood products can be imported to them.
And disposable cutlery is an import, as it is loaded at origin and disposed of at destination.
holloway1000 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 6:25 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 36,888
People who say that they are environmentally conscious tend only to look at the immediate issue, e.g. the plastic. If standard cutlery is used, that must be collected, washed, stored and delivered back to the aircraft. All of those functions have their own carbon footprint. In addition, in many countries, the US and Australia come to mind, anything which has touched food will need to be segregated and handled in a special facility.
Often1 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 6:36 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Programs: LH SEN; BA Gold
Posts: 7,834
Originally Posted by headingwest View Post
Metal cutlery is always better anyway, other (more premium!?) airlines use it. But is this something BA should be looking at for environmental reasons?
Why not biodegradable plastic cutlery? Or wooden chopsticks?
missdimeaner likes this.
WorldLux is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 6:41 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Programs: Mucci de l'Arbitrage
Posts: 671
Originally Posted by Worcester View Post
You want BA to give you wood? Each to their own I suppose...
Selected cabin crew already sometimes do! 😊
Qatar Airways and deboyzoned like this.
Takiteasy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 7:05 am
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Wedged somewhere between BTS and VIE ✈
Programs: Star Alliance Gold (A3 Gold)
Posts: 5,408
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
People who say that they are environmentally conscious tend only to look at the immediate issue, e.g. the plastic. If standard cutlery is used, that must be collected, washed, stored and delivered back to the aircraft. All of those functions have their own carbon footprint. In addition, in many countries, the US and Australia come to mind, anything which has touched food will need to be segregated and handled in a special facility.
Although I see your point, one could argue that the production process produces a big chunk of the carbon footprint of the cutlery.

Very crudely working out the numbers, I guess that an average longhaul flight that spans normal meal services would carry about 200 passengers in economy. One meal service pack usually contains a knife, fork, and 2 spoons, add the same again for the second service and you've got 8 items per passengers X 200 = 1600 items per flight. Double that if the aircraft does a turnaround and you've given out 3,200 items of cutlery. How many longhaul flights does BA run daily? I've no idea, but I think my initial figure of 'tens of thousands' daily might even be an underestimation. I think we're talking 300,000 plus items daily!!

300,000 metal items could be produced once and they'd last a long time, although you'd obviously get a percentage of those going 'astray'.

Compare that with producing 300,000 plastic items EVERYDAY that possibly go straight to the rubbish after the flight. Those items also have to be produced and transported to the airline, so the carbon footprint there is pretty hefty.

BA processes the metal cutlery for the premium cabins, so I see now reason why they couldn't do the same for economy. Money is the answer I would guess.

I would see the introduction of metal cutlery as a real improvement, not just for the quality of the product but also for the environmental impact.
airsurfer, RoyalSwazi and T8191 like this.
headingwest is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 23, 18, 7:11 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Programs: LH SEN; BA Gold
Posts: 7,834
Originally Posted by headingwest View Post
300,000 metal items could be produced once and they'd last a long time, although you'd obviously get a percentage of those going 'astray'.
Not really. If the airline cheaps out (this is where BA comes into the mix) then they'll order flimsy cutlery that will not survive more than say two/three dozen flights.
WorldLux is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: