KLM plea: change EU rules to allow recycle and reuse catering waste
KLM recycles catering waste from European flights by separating it into 14 different waste streams, ready to be recycled. Unfortunately, EU legislation obliges airlines to incinerate catering waste that originates outside of Europe. KLM and other airlines want EU to change the rules that are preventing them from recycling tons of catering waste per day.
KLM recycles catering waste from European flights by separating it into 14 different waste streams, ready to be recycled. This is not the case for catering waste that originates outside of Europe. EU legislation enacted more than a decade ago obliges airlines to incinerate this waste. The reason for this is that EU legislation classifies catering waste from outside the EU as a risk to animal health. Diseases could potentially spread. The airlines claim that there is no scientific evidence confirming this risk. Because the legislation is too broad, similar waste, must be processed in different ways.
One example is coffee grounds. Identical coffee, in pads or tins, is loaded onto a European and intercontinental flight. On returning to Schiphol, coffee grounds from the European flight are turned into compost and biogas. Those from the intercontinental flight are burnt with other waste. This example shows how restrictive the EU legislation is. Due to this legislation, industry waste has increased substantially to 430,000 tonnes per year. This puts European airlines in a difficult position. In a video, KLM explains its position: “We want to be more sustainable, in line with EU’s own ambitions, striving for a circular economy. EU legislation is restricting us from recycling and reusing more. We call on EU policy makers to address this problem. Let’s work together to reduce waste.”