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(CNN) — Not sure what clothes to choose from your wardrobe for a vacation in Japan? If you fly Japan Airlines, the answer is no.
Japan’s flag carrier has launched a year-long trial of a service that allows passengers to reserve a collection of clothing – of different styles and seasons – and have it delivered to their hotel upon arrival. At the end of the stay, the garment is withdrawn, rinsed and re-enters the system.
was invited “Any Clothes, Anywhere”, The service will run until the end of August 2024 and Japan Airlines says it will be able to reduce carbon emissions by reducing the weight of its planes.
“Any Wear, Anywhere” means that saving about 10 kg of luggage is equivalent to saving 7.5 kg of emissions, equivalent to turning on the hair dryer for 10 minutes a day for 78 days.
“I love to travel and have been to many foreign countries, but I’m always afraid of carrying luggage or doing laundry abroad,” says Miho Moriya, who came up with the idea and manages Sumitomo, a Japanese company called “Anywhere, Anywhere.” It takes care of reservations, deliveries and laundry.
“When I travel, the three most important things for me are accommodation, food and clothing,” he adds. “When we go abroad, hotels and restaurants provide accommodation and food on site, but no clothing. Why should we bring clothes from home?”
Clothing for all seasons
Moriah pitched the idea for the service through his company’s internal business challenge, and says it took “several attempts” to find an airline willing to back him, after a delay due to the pandemic.
Users of the service connect to the website and choose between several options: women’s or men’s clothing, in any season; elegant or casual style; up and down count; and pick-up and return dates. Prices range from US$ 34 to 48 for the entire rental period, waiting for you at the hotel of your choice.
All clothing is used or from company surplus, although users cannot see this information about their selection. The service has been running since early July and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, says Moriah. “Although we don’t do any kind of advertising, we have requests from all over the world and from more than 115 countries in total,” he says, adding that the US and Australia are the countries with the largest number of users.
The true impact of the test will finally be known when Japan Airlines calculates the weight savings and actual emissions reductions. “We need to see the final results before we can say whether this service is sustainable or not,” says Moriah, whose calculations take into account the emissions produced by laundry distribution and washing.
Less weight, less emissions?
Weight reduction is a proven way to save fuel and reduce emissions, and has long been considered by aircraft manufacturers and airlines, for example by designing lighter seats for passengers or replacing heavy paper manuals with tablets. Even small changes can have a big impact: when Qantas made its first and business class tableware 11% lighter, the company says it started saving 535 metric tons of fuel per year.
However, Japan Airlines could see a statistically significant reduction in baggage weight, says Gary Crichlow, aviation analyst at Aviation Values, a consultancy. “If they determine that passengers are actually traveling with less luggage, they need to determine whether there is a causal link to the initiative,” he adds.
Once that is proven, the challenge will be to ensure that the reduced weight actually translates into lower fuel consumption. “What’s important from an emissions standpoint is how much fuel is burned by getting the full weight of the plane into the air and keeping it there until it lands in Japan,” he says.
“It doesn’t matter if the weight comes from passengers, suitcases, cargo, crew, or catering. Because airline real estate is so valuable, there is an additional economic incentive to compensate for reducing the weight of passenger baggage. Revenue-generating cargo. If it uses the aircraft’s cargo capacity more effectively, it’s a bad thing from a holistic perspective. No. But this goes against the stated purpose of the initiative. “Thus, transparency is key to the actual weight (if any) saved on an aircraft and the resulting reduced fuel burn.”
Nina Gbor, sustainable fashion expert and educator, believes the project is a positive step. “Most people buy new clothes only for their vacations and business trips, so this service will reduce this unnecessary clothing waste and the virgin resources used in the production of new clothes. It uses excess stock and clothes that normally go to landfill or incinerator,” he says.
He adds: “An additional nine months of active use extends the life of the garments, reducing carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30% each.”
Gbor hopes that more airlines will adopt this initiative. “With global flights expected to reach 32.4 million passengers by 2023, other airlines around the world should replicate the linen rental model if they are serious about supporting the circular economy and achieving sustainability goals,” he says.
Moriah shares this ambition and hopes to expand the partnership with Japan Airlines to other members of the OneWorld alliance, which includes American Airlines, British Airways and Qantas, and later to other alliances. “Our ultimate goal is to expand service to everyone,” he says.
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