Sydney broker flies to Melbourne on garbage

Sydney broker Jeremy Rowsell has made history by flying a ‘proof of concept’ flight from Sydney to Melbourne using conventional fuel blended with fuel derived from plastic waste.

Rowsell is the Managing Director, National Placement at Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) and also a ferry and commercial pilot with over 50,000km of flying experience over the Pacific. The pioneering ‘On Wings of Waste’ flight, which travelled 500 miles, is the culmination of a four-year project to fly a plane on a unique fuel blend made up from 10% end-of-life plastic normally found in the ocean and landfill sites.

A passionate environmentalist Rowsell believes all countries need to take action on this issue and this is required at a government, corporate and individual level. He says: “After years of preparation and many updates and downs we’ve finally shown that the eight million tonnes of plastic dumped into the oceans each year can be put to good use”.

Sir David Attenborough, a supporter of On Wings of Waste, has called the flight a sign of hope in a very depressing world. Rowsell says that people in insurance are huge supporters of the community in multiple ways and it never ceases to surprise him how generous those within insurance are for many causes.

“Insurance professionals are used to quantifying and understanding risk so people in the industry have been very supportive of us once the human and environmental facts of plastic are explained. For instance, 8 million tonnes of plastic found its way into the oceans in 2010 and plastic is now being found in plankton – the base food for marine life and also the producer of a significant proportion of the oxygen we breathe,”

“It was fantastic to see how JLT and the wider insurance community responded and gained a lift from the flight. It is not every day that the insurance world gets the chance to showcase how much we do in support of the community so this was a chance to represent that in a positive way”.

Leo Demer, CEO of JLT Australia and New Zealand said, “We are honoured to support this experimental work by one of our people. We hope that Jeremy’s inspiring story ignites a global campaign to change the way we use plastic and fuel to help address the world’s increasing pollution exposures. Our culture of innovation, pushing boundaries and different ways of thinking extends through every individual who works for JLT, supporting our clients to achieve even greater success.”