When you think about it, quite a lot of meal trays are discarded when flying. With so many passengers, who receive one and sometimes two meals per flight, plenty of rubbish is produced. Japan’s ANA is going to combat this with biodegradable meal trays.

This should save quite a lot of plastic waste. For example, when ANA introduced plastic free cutlery and straws, plastic use was reduced by a whopping 25 tons. Small changes lead to big results.

ANA’s Biodegradable Meal Trays

The new trays are produced from bagasse, which is apparently the waste fibre produced from processing sugarcane. This means that something that could be discarded is now being used, and it’s biodegradable as well. A win win all round.


Replacing the trays will see a 30% reduction in plastic waste, which equals 317 tons based on 2019 usage alone. Now that’s some reduction! Economy class passengers flying ANA will see the new trays introduced from August 2021.

Overall Thoughts

Along with other businesses, airlines are also trying to find solutions to become more sustainable. Whether this is looking at biofuels, reducing waste, or changing how things are done, everything is up for review, so we will see more of this in future.

Biodegradable meal trays is just one element of the story. Other airlines such as Rex in Australia have decided that the tray the meals are delivered on should be made of recyclable cardboard, rather than plastic. Virtually everything has potential to be changed out, which should make for some interesting times ahead.

What do you think of ANA introducing biodegradable meal trays? A good news story or not? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Paul Schmid via Wikimedia Commons.