Eithad's new sustainable tableware is black and clear with a sleek modern look.

Etihad goes full-reuse with new closed-loop economy meal tableware

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Green Wing logo with white letters against a green backdrop, and leafs on either sideEtihad is the latest airline to redesign its economy class meal experience with an eye towards reuse and sustainability, with a new set of reusable tableware featuring its Facets of Abu Dhabi triangle branding. The airline says that this new dining set will enable it to meet its 2019 sustainability goal of removing eighty percent of single-use plastic items from its operations by the end of 2022.

Notably, this marks another carrier framing its sustainability upgrades as a passenger experience quality upgrade in addition to social responsibility.

“Etihad’s new dining experience features reusable tableware made from recycled high-quality plastic and eliminates the use of single-use plastic,” the airline says. “The tray, serving plates and their lids are part of a closed loop recycling system. At the end of their lifecycle, they are collected, washed, ground and reused to make new replacement products.”

Stainless steel cutlery will also be introduced to replace plastics, and the airline says this will be part of an upgraded feel to the overall passenger experience. Etihad’s new meal set consists of seven serviceware elements in either clear or black plastic, plus the modern yet simple cutlery.

The tableware is photographed falling onto a tray

The elements of the new service are coherent and come together well.. Image: Etihad

The first element is the sizeable meal tray, made of recycled plastic with that speckled-effect that gives a clue to customers that it’s a more sustainable material, in this case in an on-brand light sand colour.

On top of the tray comes the large oval main meal dish in a gloss-effect black plastic, which is pleasingly sizeable. On top of this fits a matching matte black lid, which features an etched-effect relief of the Facets of Abu Dhabi triangles and an image of a serving cloche.

Two good-sized pots are also designed to sit on the meal tray, with one in the same glossy black as the main dish and one in a clear plastic. Both are again branded with the Facets triangles, in this case also with triangle-by-triangle texturing that will add grip and also makes them attractive additions. Each comes with a clear lid with the airline’s logomark.

A close up of a round container that is part of the new Etihad reusable tableware collection.

The addition of the Facets branding on the side pots also adds grip. Image: Etihad

These look set to directly replace the two non-recycled elements of Etihad’s current meal service, which in recent media imagery include a savoury starter/side dish (a Greek-style salad, it appears) and a sweet pudding or mousse dessert.

A meal is being enjoyed in Economy Class on an Etihad aircraft.

The new meal tableware looks to be a direct replacement within the current meal concept. Image: Etihad

Once the cutlery and napkin have been picked up, the tray is large enough to provide a spot for the bread roll and butter that also make up the current meals service, as well as a beverage glass.


Interestingly, the plan is not only to wash and reuse the sets during their usable life, but also to close the loop on their production when they’re no longer serviceable. “The tray, serving plates and their lids are part of a closed loop recycling system,” says the airline. “At the end of their lifecycle, they are collected, washed, ground and reused to make new replacement products.”

It’s a remarkably attractive set, all told, and the closed loop is an extra step in the right direction. Etihad is to be praised for not only going reusable and sustainable, but also for doing so in a way that adds to the passenger experience rather than subtracting from it.

“Our commitment to sustainability doesn’t come at a compromise to the quality and thoughtfulness behind Etihad’s guest experience,” says Terry Daly, Etihad’s executive director of guest experience, brand and marketing. “These innovative new products will further improve our offering. We look forward to rolling out this new experience across the fleet towards the latter part of the year.”

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Featured image credited to Etihad