An estimated 5.7 million tonnes of airline waste is generated on commercial flights each year from the single-use plastic present in meal trays and amenities kits.
Driven to reduce airline waste, London-based design company PriestmanGoode has modernised the classic in-flight food trays to be plastic-free, edible, and fully biodegradable. Yes, you read that right: Airline travellers can (theoretically) eat their trays as part of their inflight meal!
The tray is made from recycled coffee grounds, with side dish sections made of banana leaves, wheat bran or algae, while the condiments and milk capsules will be made of soluble seaweed. It will then be covered with a lid made from bamboo to streamline the waste collection and more compact disposal.
In addition, drinking cups will be replaced by rice husk cups lined with algae. Single-use plastic utensils will also be replaced with coconut wood sporks.
A word of caution, though: while everything is edible, the company says consumers should not expect it to “taste good”. While passengers can try to nibble on their trays, the design team said the importance of its “edibleness” is that the in-flight trays would be fully compostable and can be discarded as food waste.
If one is curious about what the edible food trays taste like, passengers should give the dessert dish lid a try since it is made from the same crispy wafer as ice cream cones.
A water cooler cart would also be placed on the aircraft to encourage passengers to refill their bottles throughout the flight instead of buying plastic bottles.
“While there is currently no perfect solution, this design proposal aims to encourage suppliers and airlines to rethink the meal service in a more eco-friendly manner,” said Jo Rowan, associate strategy director at PriestmanGoode.