Qantas Accused of Reusing Plastic Cutlery on Flights Up To 30 Times

Karithina, flickr

When does being "green" begin to look really stingy? For Qantas airline, it's when you start reusing plastic knifes and forks multiple times on international flights.Qantas, Australia's largest airline, has come under fire for allegedly reusing plastic cutlery up to 30 times before discarding the disposable utensils.

The allegation (that is, if you consider overzealous recycling a crime) comes from, which cites a supplier who was reportedly informed by Qantas staff that the plastic cutlery was washed and redistributed as many as 30 times before being thrown away.

"I asked them, 'If you have half a leftover sandwich, do you put it with another half?'" the supplier told the online Australian newspaper. "They said no."

Qantas admits that plastic knives, forks, and spoons are collected after meals and sent to a washing facility where the utensils are professionally cleaned before being redistributed on another flight. Plastic cutlery on Qantas international flights is reused at least three times depending on the deterioration of the utensils, says the airline. The plastic forks and knifes on many domestic flights are not recycled because of the sheer volume of customers, says the airline. As many as 50,000 passengers fly on Qantas domestic flights every weekday, while only 19,000 passengers fly to and from Australia daily on Qantas international flights.

In defense of the recycling practice, Qantas asserted that their plastic cutlery is "more robust" than regular disposable utensils, which allows for multiple re-use.
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