Austrian Airlines has partnered with Vienna Airport and oil and gas company OMV to send its used plastic cups to be converted into new fuels and plastics.
Cabin crew will now collect the cups separately to other waste and pass it on to the airport. After its sent to OMV, the waste then undergoes thermal cracking to produce synthetic crude that can be turned into fuel or other raw materials for plastics.
OMV said it has been exploring the potential of used plastics since 2011, and expanded operations in early 2018. It has been trialling the collaboration with Austrian Airlines since January.
Austrian Airlines already sends various materials used on-board for recycling, including glass bottles and newspapers, while its parent company Lufthansa Group says it carriers are all developing ideas aimed at increasing sustainability.
The average passenger generates 1.4 kilograms of waste per flight, according to the International Air Transport Association.