Alaska Airlines has become the first carrier in the United States to completely eliminate single-use plastic cups from its inflight beverage service as the Seattle-based airline sets its sights on a 2025 goal to replace the top five waste-producing items with more environmentally friendly options.
Instead of plastic cups, Alaska Airlines will now use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper cups for both hot and cold beverages served in the Economy Cabin. On the majority of flights, First Class passengers will be served beverages in reusable glassware of china cups.
Alaska Airlines first embarked on its mission to eliminate single-use plastic back in 2018 when the carrier swapped out plastic straws and stir sticks for bamboo alternatives.
Again, Alaska was the first airline in the U.S. to ditch plastic straws and other airlines, including American and Delta Air Lines, quickly followed.
The airline claims this latest sustainability initiative should eliminate 55 million plastic cups which is the equivalent in weight of 24 Boeing 737s. Internationally, a number of other airlines, including Spanish flag carrier Iberia, have already dumped single-use plastic cups with little complaint from passengers.
In 2021, Alaska said it hoped to eliminate 1.8 million pounds of single-use plastics per year by swapping out plastic water bottles for cardboard boxed water supplied by Michigan-based ‘Boxed Water Is Better’.
“Although we have an industry-leading recycling program, the reality is that we need to move to renewable options,” commented Alaska’s managing director of guest products, Todd Traynor-Corey.
Alaska Airlines has announced its intention to reach net zero by 2040, alongside five-year plans to dramatically slash waste and boost recycling. The airline has created its own investment arm to help fund and nurture emerging technology that will help it on its path to reaching net zero.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.