Please upgrade your web browser
You’re using a browser that we don’t support. To get the best experience using our site, we recommend you upgrade to a newer browser – please see our supported browsers list.

Eliminating garment plastic bags

fuel efficiency improvement

Our colleagues at Vogue Laundry Services (VLS) have identified garment plastic bags as a key source of plastics and have worked to reduce and eliminate its use within their operations. As an initial step, VLS has replaced individual garment bags with a 3-in-1 bulk packaging, which reduced plastic bag usage in retail laundry by approximately 24%. Taking efforts further, VLS has also completely eliminated plastic garment bags at the Cathay City depot, with plans to expand this initiative to other valet stations in a phased approach.

"Invisible" shopping bags

In line with our commitment to halve the use of disposable plastics, we have started to use the new “invisible” shopping bags for a range of products when shopping with Cathay. Made from Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA), starch, glycerin and water, this biodegradable plastic alternative can dissolve in water without leaving any harmful residue or microplastics behind.


The use of plastics in the aviation industry has been widespread due to their light weight and low cost. Saving weight lowers our fuel consumption and reduces our carbon footprint, while lower operating costs help us control passenger fares. However, the long-life span of plastic in the natural environment is an issue with damaging effects to wildlife and the habitats. Ambitious reduction efforts are essential and our recent stakeholder engagement survey again highlighted the urgency to address this issue. Reducing single-use plastics (SUP) means weighing many different factors to ensure we are not creating other sustainability issues when we do. To maintain the benefits of light weight and low cost, we are looking at a variety of eco-friendly solutions that can still meet the expectations of our passengers. Our job is made easier because many of our passengers are welcoming the changes. At Cathay we set a target to cut our SUP usage by 50% of our 2018 baseline by the end of 2022. With reduced operation scale because of COVID, actual usage of single use plastic items in 2022 was way below 50%. And through the roll-out of non-plastic replacement of key items, we have achieved 56% reduction compared with the 2018 baseline on a per passenger usage basis. In practice this means we are removing nearly 200 million individual items such as plastic cups, salad bowl lids, cutlery and straws on an annual basis at pre-COVID operating scale. With our reduced operation volume due to the impacts of COVID-19, full depletion of old SUP stock has been delayed. Transition will be completed within 2023. We also keep abreast of new SUP import and consumption laws and regulations in jurisdictions we operate and actively take part in industry discussions through the IATA SUP Working Group. We work to ensure proper considerations and operational changes are made to comply with current and emerging regulations, including the European Union SUP Directive and India SUP regulations. Moving forward, a new SUP baseline mapping exercise is underway to help inform the development of a new target. Considerations will include COVID-19 impacts on procurement, evolving regulations regarding SUP in all the markets where we operate, and best practices from other airlines.