Lithuanian Airports Found a Way to Reduce Food Waste

From now on, food and cosmetic products left behind by passengers near aviation security check stations at the airports in Kaunas and Palanga will be given to those in need. It was decided to take this initiative after seeing the results achieved at Vilnius Airport, where since the beginning of summer food and cosmetics left behind by passengers have been given to those in need with the assistance of the charity and support fund Maisto bankas (Food Bank).

“Every day we see cases when we ask passengers to leave certain products that are not allowed on aeroplanes at aviation security check stations. Before a trip, absent-minded passengers often forget that the capacity of each liquid container allowed in carry-on baggage must not exceed 100 ml,” states Agnė Mažeikytė, the Communication Project Manager of Lithuanian Airports.

When asked to reduce the number of products in carry-on baggage, passengers always have a choice: to transfer the products to checked baggage, to give them to accompanying persons, or to simply throw them in the bin. According to A. Mažeikytė, usually the last option is chosen. For this reason, special boxes are located at the airports to allow passengers to put unopened products not allowed on aeroplanes in them, instead of just throwing the products out.

“In this way, we seek to reduce unnecessary food waste at the airport. Statistical data collected so far show that every month we give 500-1000 kg of products that were left behind by passengers to those in need,” says the representative of Lithuanian Airports. According to her, passengers are usually forced to leave behind bottles of water and soft drinks, preserved meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, jams, and various hygiene products.

“The fact that the airports in Kaunas and Palanga have recently joined the initiative of Vilnius Airport to help those in need shows that the problem of food waste is really relevant. We will raise the passengers’ awareness and we will do good work together by helping those in need,” states Modestas Bastys, the Head of Vilnius Region Department at Maisto bankas (Food Bank).

Maisto bankas (Food Bank) volunteers review the contents of boxes located near the aviation security check stations once a week. It is allowed to put various unopened food and hygiene products in the boxes; however, dairy products are not allowed as their shelf life is short. Since June, Maisto bankas (Food Bank) has given a total of approximately 4 tonnes of various products collected at Lithuanian Airports to those in need. Their value comprises EUR 11,900.