April 17, 2024

Industry pushes for regulatory change on waste

Industry pressure is building for a change to International Waste Catering (ICW) regulations – now seen as the primary block to cutting cabin waste. 

In the latest initiative, 25 aviation signatories have come together to lobby the European Union to move towards ‘smarter regulations’ which would avoid the automatic incineration or deep landfill disposal of waste from international flights.  

IATA research has shown that the 2002 Animal By-Products legislation, which classifies ICW as bio-hazardous, significantly overestimates the risks from inflight catering. It calculates that 40% of an estimated 400,000-450,000 tonnes of Category 1 ICW generated each year in fact presents no risk and could be reused or recycled.  

Signatories to the new statement include leading trade bodies – IATA, IFSA, ACA (Airline Caterers Association), ACI (Airports Council International) and A4E (Airlines for Europe); airlines including KLM, Easyjet, Air France, Finnair, Lufthansa, British Airways, Iberia, Swiss, Transavia, SATA Azores Airlines, Jet2, Edelweiss, Eurowings, Air Dolomiti, Austrian, Tui, Brussels Airlines; plus airport operator Schiphol Group and inflight caterer Servair. 

The statement says: “EU animal health rules undermine the ability of the aviation sector to make a positive contribution to the circular economy through cabin waste prevention, reuse and recycling initiatives. While waste generated on flights operating within the EU can be efficiently processed, recycled and reused, the same is not true for waste from international flights, originating outside the EU.”  

The signatories also challenge the reason for the current regulations stating: “Although the sector fully supports the aim to minimise the spread of animal diseases, the Commission has been unable to demonstrate the scientific basis for this classification.” They call for an urgent review of the regulations. 

Read the full statement.