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Reducing our waste at all levels

Within a highly-restrictive regulatory context, Air France-KLM strives to minimize its waste production and increase the proportion that is recycled or reprocessed.


reducing non-recycled waste by 2030 relative to the 2011 baseline


Air France had already eliminated of its single use plastic items (SUP) i.e. 1,424 tons.


of the aircraft A340 can be recovered, reused or recycled.

Act in a context of restricted regulations

About 85% of our waste results from in-flight catering and cabin cleaning. The remaining 15% results from our own production in, for example, our Cargo and Maintenance businesses, with only a small percentage coming from our office-based activities.



Change our processes

Key principles

To achieve its target, Air France-KLM applies the principles of the circular economy: rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle. To seek solutions and eliminate barriers to the management of in-flight catering and aeronautical waste, which are both subject to strict international regulations, we actively cooperate with the Authorities and our supply chain.


In 2022, the Group reduced its non-recycled waste by 50% compared to the 2011 baseline. This result is in part explained by the pandemic and its impact on our activities and, with the recovery in traffic, we remain fully mobilized around maintaining our trajectory and achieving our target.

Principles of the circular economy applied on board our aircraft

Although most of our waste from in-flight catering is subject to strict regulation and may not be reused, recycling is an integral part of our sustainability strategy.

In 2022, Air France, KLM and other European airlines issued a joint statement and launched a campaign to make legislators aware of this issue.

Improve the way we manage our waste over the entire life cycle.

Air France, KLM and Transavia deploy continuous improvement programs for the management of in-flight waste. Over the years, many items have been redesigned or replaced by more sustainable alternatives. Examples include the redesign of all the elements of food trays to use fewer materials and the introduction of lighter-weight trolleys.

The Group makes it a point of honour that its airlines rigorously sort waste on board their aircraft. This concerns plastic bottles, juice cartons and cans for all short, medium and long-haul flights to Paris.

On all the European flights, glass, cans, aluminium lids, paper, EPS boxes, PET plastic bottles and other forms of plastic are also sorted and recycled.

In 2022, 550 tons of cabin waste and glass packaging were sorted and recycled, i.e. 148% more than the previous year.

Combatting food waste

Reduce waste

Two main levers enable a reduction in food waste: the adjustment of the catering embarked on flights and a strict policy of merchandise inventory management.

Data and customer experience to refine our services

Eliminating single use plastic

Whether for reasons of hygiene and food safety, or to reduce the weight embarked, the in-flight service uses a substantial quantity of single-use plastic products. The Air France-KLM Group is committed to reducing this source of pollution through two main levers: eliminating single use plastic wherever possible; replacing these plastics with other materials when more sustainable alternatives are available.

Concretely, this is being reflected in the different tangible results within its airlines:

Principles of the circular economy applied to our ground activities

The Group is developing actions to give a second life to waste like, for example, the recycling of used uniforms which are transformed into carpeting on board KLM aircraft or the upcycling of blankets used on board into goodies for our customers.


Handling aeronautical waste

From engine parts to aircraft seats, cargo pallets and broken suit cases: waste is produced by our engineering & maintenance, cargo and flight operations. Although most aeronautical waste is also subject to strict regulation, we have implemented many initiatives to reduce non-recycled production waste.

Cradle-to-Cradle and controlled end of cycle

Air France-KLM applies a strict policy concerning the end of life of its aircraft, prioritizing organizations that dismantle/deconstruct aircraft with reference to the environmental standards in force.

Aircraft that are at the end of their service with the Air France – KLM Group and are not returned to their lessors, maintain a high value. These aircraft are sold to another airline or to a company specialized in tear-down services for the recycling and reuse of spare parts. We can also use the components from old aircraft to replace parts in the Group’s current operational fleet.

Since 2013, the Group airlines work with companies with best-in-class environmental standards such as Tarmac Aerosave, a company we work with to dismantle aircraft. Tarmac Aerosave, which uses the principles of the circular economy for each aircraft component.

Tarmac recycles approximately 90% of the aircraft materials, an additional 8% are fluids such as oils which are reused to produce energy, leaving 2% as disposal.

This is the case, for example, for the company Tarmac Aerosave, which uses the principles of the circular economy for each aircraft component:

During the dismantling of an A340-type aircraft, for example, it is estimated that more than 80% of the aircraft can be recovered, reused or recycled.

Total waste weight in metrics tons


Paper Fiber


Metal (aluminium, steel or rare metals)



Total recycled


Paper Fiber


Metal (aluminium, steelor rare metals)



Plastic focus


Total weight (tons) of all plastic


Of recyclable plastic (of the total weight of all plastic)


Of compostable plastic (of the total weight of all plastic)


Of recycled content within our plastic (of the total weight of all plastic)

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