I’m writing this article on board the Turkish Airlines flight from Bremen to Istanbul as I finally had an old concern of mine confirmed by the flight attendant during the food service. I had always been curious about what happened to the uneaten single serving airline food we get served on board. Of course I am not talking about half a piece of leftover bread or some side salad which comes with the fish. Rather I was worried about all the unopened stuff in little plastic containers. Butter, cream cheese, olive oil, cookies and even salt&pepper fall in this category. I got served some delicious seafood meal about half an hour ago, and as I usually do, I did not touch the single serving butter in one of these little plastic containers. Again as I always do, I put it in my backpack to take it home with me, thinking otherwise it would be wasted. Then I decided to ask the flight attendant if it actually goes to waste or somehow back to a box of single serving butters to be served on the next flight. I was really hoping for the latter but unfortunately his answer was otherwise. He told me that the service trays are collected, the plastic food boxes and the silverware are removed to be washed (at least those don’t get thrown away!) and the rest of the stuff goes to waste. He actually finished his sentence with the word “unfortunately”. We can assume that this is a common practice for all airline companies and start to think what we can do to prevent this huge airline food waste. I don’t really know the reasons behind this practice but I can think of one or two things such as logistics (difficulty of finding and collecting the unopened containers on the trays maybe) or hygiene (even though the container is unopened, reusing this food might be a violation of some health regulation). I won’t go into this or try to change the airline food serving regulations now as I got no power to do this anyway. However, I’d like to point out what we passengers could do. Really simple in fact. We just don’t leave any of these unopened containers on our trays. We just put them in our bags and take them home. You could use the butter and the cream cheese at breakfast the next morning or you could just pour the sugar which came with your coffee into the sugar jar in your kitchen. I know you might be asking if it’s worth the effort. Considering the number of airline meals served globally each year (I don’t know the actual number but just think about it!), you do the math on how much food could actually be prevented from being wasted. And is it even a difficult effort to make? In my opinion, it’s hardly even an effort. Still, it’s your decision.

Category: English, Life

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August 2013
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