Alaska Airlines Eliminates Plastic Cups on All Flights
SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines announced Wednesday it is eliminating in-flight plastic cups. The West Coast-based airline is the first U.S. carrier to completely transition to paper cups as a planet-friendly alternative.
Alaska Airlines estimates that this move will eliminate more than 55 million plastic cups annually and, combined with its Boxed Water™ partnership created in 2021, will eliminate 2.2 million pounds of plastic waste from landfills — the equivalent weight of 24 Boeing 737s — annually.
“Doing the right thing is one of our core values and nothing is more right and urgent than protecting the beautiful places that we connect our guests to through flight,” Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products for Alaska Airlines, said in a release.
“This is another important step in our journey to eliminate single-use plastics and an important step for the industry to see how product innovations can chart a course to a greener future.”
In 2018, Alaska Airlines was a pioneer in transitioning away from plastic waste by removing plastic straws and stir sticks from in-flight service. Other airlines followed, including Emirates, which replaced plastic straws and retail bags with paper in 2019; Etihad Airways, which pledged to remove all single-use plastics on long-haul flights that same year; and British Airways, which cut out many single-use plastic items in 2020.
Hi Fly, a Portuguese airline, started testing out plastic-free flights in 2019, replacing spoons, cups and cutlery with bamboo as a sustainable alternative.
As of today, all inflight beverages on Alaska Airlines flights are served in Forest Stewardship Council certified paper cups, with reusable glassware offered for most first-class services. Guests are also encouraged to bring their own water bottles in a campaign called #FillBeforeYouFly.
The airline has a goal of replacing the top five plastic waste-producing items from onboard service by 2025 and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
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