In a first for the commercial aviation industry, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines has completely removed all plastic from inflight water services, effective immediately.
The airline’s so-called “Green Team Employee Business Resource Group” helped make the decision, which comes at a time when the world’s attention is more focused on the environment than ever before.
War on Waste
The reduction of inflight waste plays a central role in Alaska Airlines’ goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Removing onboard plastic in this way is estimated to remove around 1.8 million pounds of plastic waste from flights over the course of a year. That’s the equivalent of the weight of 18 Boeing 737 jets!
Following the airline’s move to remove plastic straws and stirrers in 2018, this latest plastic cull includes both single-use plastic bottles and plastic cups.
Replacing the plastic bottles is Boxed Water’s 92% plant-based, fully recyclable cartons. Passengers will also be given recyclable paper cups rather than plastic ones.
“We’re proud to partner with Boxed Water on our most impactful plastic-reduction initiative yet, on a continued journey to minimize inflight waste,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Vice President of Public Affairs and Sustainability for Alaska Airlines.
Before implementing the change permanently, Alaska trialed the Boxed Water by rolling it out in first class and Horizon Air-operated flights back at the start of 2021.
The carrier issued a passenger survey regarding the removal of plastic in this way and found that around 66% of those who took part were in favor of implementing the change permanently.
“Our ability to scale with Alaska from first class to main cabin in just 6 months demonstrates both operational feasibility and the interest travelers have in more renewable inflight offerings,” said Daryn Kuipers, CEO of Boxed Water.
Alaska’s war on waste doesn’t stop at plastic. Passengers now have the option of preordering inflight meals, preventing aircraft from being loaded with surplus meals which would then be unnecessarily wasted.
It’s great to see a major U.S. airline like Alaska taking steps that will help save our planet’s environment.
Let’s hope Alaska’s move to remove inflight plastic in this manner influences other airlines around the country — and the world — to get on board with the war on plastic.
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