Alaska Airlines becomes the first US Airlines to eliminate plastic cups in flight. As part of Alaska Airlines climate goals, Alaska has been reducing the use of single use plastic fleet wide. Today, Alaska Airline announced the completion of their transition to paper cups for inflight beverages. This will eliminates more than 55 million plastic cups annually and replaces them with a more planet-friendly renewable alternative.
The airline’s decision to eliminate plastic cups is a significant step in the right direction. We know that plastic waste is a major environmental problem. Plastic cups and other single-use items are often used for just a few minutes before being discarded, but can take hundreds of years to decompose. At least the move to paper brings more renewable options and items that may be compostable.
In addition to eliminating plastic cups, Alaska Airlines is also implementing other sustainable initiatives. Since April 2021, Alaska has been utilizing Boxed Water. Replacing all plastic water bottles with Boxed Water. Alaska Airlines also eliminated plastic stir sticks in 2018, replacing the small plastic straws with sustainable bamboo picks. Customers are also invited and reminded to be part of their environmental activism. Alaska Airlines has a fill before your fly campaign where they encourage passengers to bringing their own reusable bottles on flights. Empty water bottles can be transported through security and filled at a water fountain airside.
All inflight beverages on Alaska flights are now served in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper cups or reusable glassware for most First-Class services. We began the process of eliminating our five largest sources of plastic waste in 2018 by removing plastic straws and stir sticks from inflight service – a first for any airline at the time.
As part of our broader sustainability efforts, Alaska continues to pursue product innovations and supply chain advancements to achieve our 2025 goal of replacing the top five waste-producing items from onboard service and continuing to recycle. In 2021, Alaska established climate goals for its impacts in carbon, waste, and water while defining a five-part pathway to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 to keep the places we live and fly beautiful and viable for generations to come.
This move by Alaska Airlines is a great example of how businesses can take action to reduce their environmental impact. Airlines get a bad rap for the amount of fuel they utilizes, so it’s nice to see airlines adjust their waste where they can. As more and more companies adopt sustainable practices, we can hope to see a reduction in plastic waste and other forms of pollution. Overall, Alaska Airlines’ decision to eliminate plastic cups is a positive step towards a more sustainable future for the aviation industry and for the planet.