Alaska Airlines Ditches Plastic Straws on All Flights
Your sipping habits at 33,000 feet are about to get a makeover: Today, Alaska Airlines became the first U.S. airline to ban single-use plastic straws and citrus picks in its lounges and on all flights starting July 16. The airline will replace the plastic utensils with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified, white birch stir sticks and a bamboo alternative for the citrus picks; non-plastic, marine-safe straws will be available upon request. The airline has partnered with Seattle nonprofit Lonely Whale on the initiative.
In 2017, Alaska doled out 22 million plastic stir straws and citrus picks—a staggering number, considering that plastic straws are too lightweight to be recyclable, and instead end up in landfills and waterways. Alaska says it will also replace “most” of its 32-46 ounce juice boxes with easier-to-recycle aluminum cans this summer. It isn’t the first time the airline has made visible moves to be more eco-conscious. Last year, Alaska replaced its onboard beer bottles with lighter aluminum cans, and switched its policy on plastic cups: flight attendants began refilling cups, rather than swapping them out for new ones during each round of beverage service. In the past eight years, Alaska’s flight attendants have collected 12,000 tons of recyclable materials—put another way, the same weight as 244 Boeing 737-900ER planes.
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