If you've ever flown on a plane, you probably know the most anxiety-producing moment is when the flight attendant rolls down the aisle calling out "trash? Trash!"

But in between trying to polish off your bag of peanuts before the attendant gets to you and also wondering whether they're asking for trash or calling you out, do you ever stop to think how much garbage an airplane ride actually produces?

It's a lot.


According to Qantas, the company produces "80 fully-laden Boeing 747 jumbos" of trash every year. Now the company's doing something: Cutting 100 million plastic items from their aircrafts within the next year.

This month, the airline tested something new on a flight from Sydney to Adelaide. The route, which usually produces around 70 pounds of trash per trip, produced none on this day.

How is that possible? The company replaced non-biodegradable containers with ones that can be used for composting. Meals came in boxes made from sugar cane; forks and knives were made from crop starch; and the cups passengers used were all paper.

“These products will be turned into compost and used in gardens and farms across the country. Any plastic items such as bottles or any paper items will be collected and recycled,” Andrew David, Qantas' CEO told The Sydney Morning Herald. (If you're worried about costs, the airline has also assured consumers that no up-charges will be passed on to them.)

Of course, it will take some time before other flights and other companies catch up; but at a time when our survival depends on lessening environmental impact, this is a huge step in the right direction.