Aer Lingus has begun recycling onboard waste on short-haul flights, as part of the carrier’s target of reaching net zero by 2050.

Following trials carrier out in 2022 and earlier this year, the airline is now recycling onboard waste on flights into Cork and Dublin, in partnership with utilities firm Panda.

Aer Lingus is aiming to recycle 20 per cent (200 tonnes) of onboard waste on flights into Cork and Dublin by the end of the year, rising to 40 (720 tonnes) per cent by 2025.

The carrier said that European regulations governing international catering waste – which were imposed in 2002 following the Foot and Mouth outbreak – had inhibited it from recycling onboard waste.

But the airline has now received confirmation from the Department of Agriculture that recycling can apply to any waste coming into Ireland that is not contaminated by animal by-products.

The aim is to extend the recycling programme to other airports and to long-haul services “over time”.

“We know from our customers that recycling is something the vast majority wish to see happen and this new on-board initiative complements other positive steps we are taking on our aircraft, including the use of more sustainable materials and reducing single use plastics on-board,” said Aer Lingus CEO, Lynne Embleton.

“Our on-board recycling initiative is one of a wide-ranging set of actions we are taking across Aer Lingus to drive sustainability at the airline, including investing in new fuel-efficient aircraft and investing in sustainable aviation fuel.”

Aer Lingus signs deal for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) supply

In other news Aer Lingus has been awarded IEnvA Stage 2 Certification by IATA, for its work in reducing carbon emissions across flight operations and corporate facilities.

The environment assessment programme is a globally recognised evaluation system designed to independently assess and help to improve the environmental performance of an airline.

“It is only by setting ambitious performance targets and embedding environmental management plans that we will make inroads into tackling climate change,” said Embleton.

“We are continuously advancing processes for monitoring and reviewing our performance against our environmental targets and objectives and the IATA certification is testament to that work.”