Giving Air Canada’s products a second life through charitable donations
Oct 01, 2021

Since 2016, Air Canada has been able to divert more than 1,100 tonnes of material from landfills by partnering with Canadian charities to give slightly used or even new and unused items a second life.

One of the main organizations Air Canada has partnered with is Toronto-based Brands For Canada, which supports numerous programs and groups across the country. In recent years, they have received more than 115 tonnes of items from Air Canada, from old uniforms after Air Canada changed to its current design several years ago, to more recently duvets and amenity kits given to passengers on board aircraft.

“Air Canada is committed to leaving less of an impact on the environment in every area of our operations. By working with Brands For Canada, we are able to not only ensure that we divert these resource-intensive items from landfills, we also help out Canadians in need with clothing, duvets and now even amenity kits. Air Canada has made significant progress in its commitment to sustainability in recent years and this is yet another way we continue to move toward reaching our goals,” said Teresa Ehman, Senior Director of Environmental Affairs at Air Canada.

The items were either slightly used or new and unused, and rather than sending them to landfill or for incineration, Brands For Canada is able to de-brand them and ensure they find a second life with people in need across Canada.

“Brands For Canada is very happy to have Air Canada as our donor partner. It is really special because the variety and the quality of the items that we receive from them is so well suited to our programs,” said Helen Harakas, Executive Director at Brands For Canada. “The other benefit is that it sets an example for other companies. It shows other companies that they can also donate their items that are branded and that they can be transformed and then used for people who really need them.”

Brands For Canada has received more than 70,000 uniforms, 4,000 duvets, and 15,000 amenity kits, all of which will have the Air Canada logo removed before being sent out to other organizations.

“The amenity kits contain essential items like toothpaste, toothbrushes and even socks, all items that help give those who receive them a boost in confidence,” Harakas said.

In 2020, despite the challenges faced by the industry, Air Canada continued on its path to sustainability through the invaluable support of its dedicated employees.

Some key highlights include:

  • Committed to an ambitious Climate Action Plan with a long-term goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, and 2030 absolute mid-term GHG net reduction targets.
  • Achieved pre-pandemic, 2020 Corporate Waste Strategy targets.
  • Repurposed 809 tonnes of Air Canada materials, avoiding sending them to landfills.


Air Canada also ensures the safe disposal of its electronic devices, such as pilot iPads, which are dissembled and recycled.