As programs like the War on Waste increase our awareness of the negative impact of single use plastics (in particular takeaway coffee cups, plastic shopping bags, plastic water bottles and straws) on the environment, here’s some tips on how you can contribute when next travelling through Brisbane Airport.
Like a large number of the population – I don’t function so well without my morning up of Java. When I’m flying, it’s a priority for me to get to the airport early enough to grab my favourite so I’m charged and ready for the day ahead. Brisbane Airport cafes order an estimated 4.5 million takeaway cups each and every year. That’s a lot of coffee…and a whole lot of waste.
Most takeaway coffee cups end up in the recycling, with conscientious caffeine consumers mistakenly under the impression that the cups are wholly recyclable. It’s the separation of the polyethylene lining from the paper cup that presents the issue, and currently not all recycling facilities enable this process, resulting in large volumes of waste intended for recycling ending up in landfill.
So what are the alternatives?
Bringing your own cup is fast becoming the norm right across cafes in Brisbane and our terminal cafes are no different with all cafes welcoming the use of Keep Cups. Better still, BYO cup and save! Some Airport cafes have signed up to Responsible Cafes and offer discounts for those who BYO cup. At the time of writing – the following cafes are listed; Bar Roma, Coretto Café & Bar, Gateway Café, Graze Grill & Bar, Merlo and Velocity Café & Bar.
Don’t have a Keep Cup? A number of cafes are also retailing Keep Cups and offering a free coffee with purchase – you’ll find Keep Cups at Fonzie Abbott and Merlo Cafes in the Domestic Terminal, and the Botanist Kitchen & Bar and Hudsons Coffee at the International Terminal.
Take a seat
When you have the time to sit down, savour your coffee and do a spot of people watching – there’s no better place than the airport! All cafes at the International Terminal offer coffee in ceramic cups. At the Domestic Terminal, you can choose to dine in with your coffee and a good read at Watermark Books & Café, do a bit of plane spotting from the Glasshouse Bar or watch the world go by at the Aviation Pier Bar & Café, Bar Roma, and Graze Grill & Bar.
If you do choose to grab your coffee in a disposable cup – don’t worry, you can still do your bit to minimise waste; place the lid of your takeaway coffee cup in the recycling and the cup into the general waste.
When travelling, consider bringing your own water bottle. I get thirsty when flying, and keeping up on the water intake is essential on long flights. Water takes up a lot of space on aircraft, so it’s definitely at a premium, often being handed out in the world’s smallest single use plastic bottles or in tiny plastic cups that barely quench your thirst. Bring your own favourite water bottle and top it up before jumping on the plane. If you are flying internationally, you’ll need to empty your bottle before heading through security due to the restrictions on liquids, aerosols, gels and powders, but you can fill it up once you’ve gone through Passport Control. There are cold filtered water stations located throughout the terminals, both before and after security screening. You’ll find them adjacent to most bathrooms or check the terminal maps for exact locations.
Going without a straw in our drink is one of those little things that we can do to contribute to making a difference. Plastic straws are slowly disappearing from our daily lives – whilst far from the biggest contributor to plastic pollution, they should be one of the easiest to let go for the majority of people.
So next time you grab a drink - go without the straw if it is practical to do so, or grab yourself one of these stylish BYO straws from the Last Straw Co.
We’ve all been there - in a tearing hurry to make your flight, or distracted by something on your phone, we’ve tossed trash in the nearest bin, whether it was the right bin or not. By taking those few extra seconds to pop your waste in the right bin, you’re helping to ensure that we recycle successfully. Waste contamination in recycling is a major issue right around Australia and large volumes of recycling end up in landfill due to poor recycling practices. At airports, the biggest culprit for contaminated recycling is takeaway coffee cups, so remember to pop the lid in recycling and the cup in the general waste bins.
Brisbane Airport is also rolling out recycling stations for cans and single use plastic bottles, and dedicated bins for takeaway coffee cups, making the separation of this rubbish cleaner and easier, and enabling the collection of coffee cups for specialised recycling a practical option in the not too distant future.
The airport is also actively participating in programs to reuse items that would otherwise have gone to waste. Brisbane Airport Ambassadors volunteer their time to assist with the OzHarvest Food ResQ program – a partnership with Qantas to collect untouched food items from Qantas domestic flights and redistribute this to people in need.
We also partners with GIVIT to recycle any aerosol deodorants that are surrendered by travellers as a result of limits to liquids, aerosols gels and powder restrictions on international travel.
As air travel becomes more affordable and passenger numbers grow, so too do the carbon emissions generated by flying. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), more than 30 member airlines around the world offer carbon offset programs where passengers can elect to offset the carbon emissions for their travel. These are typically offered on flights booked directly with the airline.
In Australia, all of the major airlines offer Fly Carbon Neutral programs that are recognised by the Australian Federal Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS), and information about the carbon offset programs they contribute to are listed on the individual airline websites.
Travel tips: How to be a sustainable traveller
National Geographic have six simple travel tips on how to best reduce your impact on the planet when travelling. You can read the full article here, but in a nutshell:
- Embrace the Slow Travel movement – go to fewer places and spend more time in each one – take the train instead of a plane where it is practical to do so.
- Give, but do it consciously – research local reputable organisations to contribute to, be it money or goods.
- Say no to plastic – reduce, reuse, and recycle.
- Research tour and accommodation operators – understand their commitments to environmental and local sustainability practices.
- Support the REAL local economy – choose souvenirs from local artists over mass produced items.
- Don’t buy products made from endangered wildlife or plants – enough said.