It has never been more important for airlines to ensure that hygiene levels on their aircraft are kept high as people get used to travelling the world once again. However, it is also the case that the world is increasingly turning against single use plastics that are contributing to climate change.
Many airlines currently use non-woven products, predominantly created from polypropylene, as disposable single use items for passenger comfort, and to add an economical element of design throughout the cabin. There are a number of airlines that are actively looking for an alternative to the current status quo. Passengers are increasingly eco-conscious, and airlines need to find items that satisfy the changing attitudes, whilst also not compromising on cost. It sometimes seems that being sustainable is an expensive option, available only to those with deep pockets to match the high price tag. However, it doesn’t always have to be this way, and more products are entering the marketplace for the economy flyer.
British supplier John Horsfall has created a naturally sustainable alternative that is ideal for headrests, pillow covers and tray mats in their BioFibre fabric.
BioFibre by John Horsfall is made with reclaimed waste-wood – a bi-product from a number of other industries, using a clean, chemical-free process; this soft, lint-free material is an environmentally friendly, responsible choice for economy class disposables. More than 95% of the water used in the creation of the fabric is recycled back into the system, and therefore the environmental impact remains small. The fabric can also be dyed and printed to complement the cabin interior, and plant based inks are also an option.
Currently, polypropylene headrests can take over 50 years to biodegrade to micro-plastic particles in landfill. The BioFibre can be recycled as easily as paper, and takes less than a year to biodegrade without the need to any specialist processing. It uses no solvents, chemicals, binders or glues, and keeps a large amount of waste wood from heading to landfill.
Ellie Parkes, Business Development Manager at John Horsfall says, ‘We’ve been determined to find an alternative to the single-use polypropylene which had become the norm’ for Economy class headrests & pillow covers. The covid-19 crisis has led to an increased use of disposable items, but as an industry we mustn’t let the current situation overshadow the urgent need for environment-conscious purchasing. Rotable, washable textiles are great, but they don’t always fit the budget, we hope that BioFibre allows airlines to adopt long-term sustainable solutions, even in Economy class.’