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Goodbye, Plastic: Dine Greener Aboard HK Express with Sustainable Meal Boxes

Hong Kong’s homegrown low-cost carrier is creating compostable meal boxes and cups, designed to minimise the impact of inflight dining

Hong Kong, 01 Jun, 2020

When it comes to the inflight travel experience, traditional meal packaging is one of the largest contributors to waste. But HK Express is working hard to create a sustainable solution: environmentally friendly inflight meal boxes and cups, made with compostable materials before implementation in September 2020.

After a rigorous selection and testing process, Hong Kong’s homegrown low-cost carrier HK Express will choose which materials to use when crafting its new inflight dining ware. For meal boxes, HK Express will choose between bamboo and Kraft paper, which both have excellent eco credentials.

One of the world’s most versatile renewable resources, bamboo requires zero pesticides, chemical fertilisers or irrigation to cultivate and is known to thrive in a wide range of environments. It’s also deodorising, anti-bacterial, and doubles as an air purifier, absorbing carbon dioxide and replacing it with oxygen. In fact, bamboo produces at least 30 per cent more oxygen than the average tree.

Kraft paper has lots of sustainable qualities, too: not only is it exceptionally strong, but the paper is also chlorine-free (chorine is often used for bleaching paper products) and biodegrades in just a few weeks.

HK Express is also planning to replace its cups with a sustainable alternative. The airline has narrowed it down to a combination of PEFC-certified paper with a PLA coating, or FSC-certified paper with PE coating. PLA (polylactic acid), a plant-based material derived from corn starch and sugar cane, can biodegrade in about six months in a high-temperature environment. By choosing either PEFC- or FSC-certified products, businesses and consumers alike can do their part to help protect the world’s forests from deforestation.

“Over the years, HK Express has made continuous efforts to integrate more environmentally friendly practices and products into the travel experience. We might be suspending our flight operations due to COVID-19 situation at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped us from working hard to reduce our airline’s carbon footprint, apply circular principles and reduce waste at every opportunity,” said Mandy Ng, CEO of HK Express. “We will continue to implement more sustainable solutions, so that future generations can explore the world for years to come.”

HK Express team selecting sustainable materials