Conserving Limited Resources - Recycling Down Comforters for Business Class on International Flights


In-flight bedding and headphones are used repeatedly, and those that no longer maintain their quality are disposed of as industrial waste. We would like to introduce our efforts to recycle down comforters that have been used on board and disposed of.

Recycle down comforters

Down comforters provided for ANA's international first and business class flights have been discarded if they have frayed or holes in them. The idea for this initiative came from a person in charge who saw the down comforters being disposed of each month, and a recycling system was set up to reuse resources by having a company that cleans and recycles down comforters take back those that were to be disposed of.

Interview with the person in charge

Ms. Komine, in charge of in-flight products (1)

The types of in-flight product waste range from dishes, bedding, headphones, trays, cutlery, and more. Approximately 1,000 down comforters have been discarded annually. Ms. Komine, who is in charge of in-flight product management, had always felt that it was wasteful to see such a large amount of disposal. However, she also felt that it would be difficult to eliminate waste all at once, so she began gathering information by expanding her knowledge of environmental issues and exploring the efforts of other companies to prevent waste. She heard that a manufacturer of down comforters provided for first class international flights was recycling them, including down comforters made by other companies, so she inquired about it and was able to establish a system to recycle them.

Ms. Komine
"Every time I received a report on the completion of industrial waste disposal, I used to feel sorry when I imagined the discarded items being buried, but I was really happy to see that the amount of waste was visibly reduced through this initiative, and I am glad we did it."

Challenges and difficulties encountered

A large truck bed is filled with disposed down comforters.
Down comforters being disposed of

In recycling, it is generally important to separate the materials of the items to be reused. For example, in the case of headphones, we have found that in some cases it is difficult to recycle because the cords and jack parts are not made of plastics.
In this initiative, the down comforters to be disposed of were a mixture of products delivered from several companies, and there were differences in the down used, but the company we found for recycling, including these differences in materials, was the one we found this time.
In the future, we would like to continue our initiatives aimed at recycling waste generated onboard the aircraft and using it again onboard the aircraft, while researching and gathering information from other companies' case studies.

The reason we are committed to recycling

Ms. Komine, in charge of in-flight products (2)

In the current society, we feel that companies have a responsibility to ensure that the products we provide are not turned into garbage. We hope to realize a recycling-oriented society in which products are not only manufactured and used, but are also recycled and reused after they have completed their roles. Not everything can be successfully recycled, but it would be nice if we could devise a way to use them in a different way and not dispose of them as garbage. As a human being living on the earth, we would like to seriously consider and work on ways to conserve our limited resources.

Ms. Komine.
"I believe that daily awareness of not wasting resources will lead to effective use of resources. I would like to find any waste that we are not yet aware of, and continue to build on our efforts to eliminate it."

The ANA Group will continue to strive for the effective use of limited resources while valuing the awareness of each and every employee.