The Environment

I like the environment. Trees and all that. And I’ll do my best to preserve it within reason. You know, recycling, turning off the light. Stuff like that. But some people take it a bit too far. I’m looking at you, Thomson Airways.

I read an article today, saying that Thomson Airways – the world’s largest charter airline now that ThomsonFly and First Choice Airways have been merged – have successfully operated several commercial flights with their aircraft running on fuel made from chip fat and vegetables. I was impressed with this at first; airlines are one of the main cause of pollution, and using environmentally-friendly fuel is far from inexpensive. It can cost up to four times the amount of standard aviation fuel, apparently. But regardless, they’re powering ahead with it. I’m not sure how I would feel if I was 30,000ft up in the sky, in an airplane operating on what’s leftover from my local chippie, but it seems to work for them.

Anyway, as I was saying. I was impressed that they were doing this – until I read the next paragraph. The next paragraph explained that this fuel is not available in the United Kingdom. Or Europe. To use this fuel, they ship it over from the United States. By the time the fuel has been produced, driven to the ships, shipped across the Atlantic (4,830km at its widest point), driven from the ships to the fuel storage facilities, and then put onto a plane, it’s actually released more emissions than it would have done had they used the standard fuel. I fail to see the point in that.

Presumably if the fuel ever took off (excuse the pun) they would make some kind of facility to produce the fuel in the UK, what with airports such as London Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham being the airline’s main bases. Who knows.

It’s like those leaflets people put through your door, telling you to save forests. If there is a more hypocritical thing on this planet, I would love to see it. Those companies have a choice – leave things as they are, or cut down half the forest to make these leaflets, that everyone will throw away without reading, and probably only 30% of people will actually recycle when doing so. Someday they might figure this out, and stop. My letterbox lives in hope.

I know that ‘every rose has its thorn’, or whatever the can’t-have-the-good-without-the-bad saying is, but sometimes I can’t help but feel it’s all a bit ridiculous. So, Mr Thomson Airways CEO, if I were you I’d just stick to putting your old newspapers in the blue bag, and turning the light off when you leave the room. Let the chippies keep their fat.


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