When I travel, I reluctantly throw away my recyclables as it is too much hassle to seek out a recycling bin. I guess I’m not alone: According to the WSJ “Airlines Feel Pressure as Pollution Fight Takes Off“, the airline industry throws away enough aluminum cans each year to build 58 Boeing 747s. To put that in perspective, since 1970, only 1469 747s have been built, and fewer than that are in service.
Never mind the plastic cups, glass, magazines, and all the fuel consumed. The airlines are actually improving somewhat – fuel efficiency is improving 2% per year. However, air travel has been growing at about 5% annually, for a net increase in waste.
To their credit, Airlines have been working on more important things for those of us who occasionally like to fly, like staying in business. And since the 70s, they have cut down on noise pollution, air pollution, and as
those who fly know, they don’t serve food anymore. Yes, we complained about the food, and now we complain about the absence of food.
GE is building more efficient engines. The two new mid size models from the duopoly, the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 are allegedly more efficient, and the new big flying pigs the 747-8 and the A380 are efficient like a
Chevy Suburban with eight passengers is far more efficient per passenger mile than a Toyota Prius with only one or two.
Baby steps are great, let’s recycle all the recyclables at airports, let’s pack the customers in like sardines across the Atlantic, (the Chiropractic industry will benefit from that) and let’s fly the most efficient planes we can as efficiently as possible.
Beyond that, it’s hard to imagine the air travel situation seriously improving without some seriously leapfrogging technology.
Scotty, Beam me home for the holidays.