Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 36, pp 35764–35775 | Cite as

Passengers waste production during flights

  • Niki Tofalli
  • Pantelitsa Loizia
  • Antonis A. ZorpasEmail author
Sustainable Waste Management


We assume that during flights the amount of waste that is produced is limited. However, daily, approximately 8000 commercial airplanes fly above Europe’s airspace while at the same time, more than 17,000 commercial flights exist in the entire world. Using primary data from airlines, which use the Larnaca’s International Airport (LIA) in Cyprus, we have tried to understand why wastes are produced during a typical flight such as food waste, paper, and plastics, as well as how passengers affect the production of those wastes. The compositional analysis took place on 27 flights of 4 different airlines which used LIA as final destination. The evaluation indicated that the passenger’s habits and ethics, and the policy of each airline produced different kinds of waste during the flights and especially food waste (FW). Furthermore, it was observed that the only waste management strategy that exists in place in the airport is the collection and the transportation of all those wastes from aircrafts and from the airport in the central unit for further treatment. Hence, this research indicated extremely difficulties to implement any specific waste minimization, or prevention practice or other sorting methods during the flights due to the limited time of the most flights (less than 3 h), the limited available space within the aircrafts, and the strictly safety roles that exist during the flights.


Air transport Airlines waste production Strategic planning Circular economy Waste on board Aviation industry 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niki Tofalli
    • 1
  • Pantelitsa Loizia
    • 1
  • Antonis A. Zorpas
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, Environmental Conservation and Management, Laboratory of Chemical Engineering and Engineering SustainabilityCyprus Open UniversityNicosiaCyprus

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