You’ve probably noticed in your travels that flying involves a lot of plastic waste. While airport water fill up stations and compostable packaging have helped a bit, in flight services are still plastic-intensive. To address the largest source of in-flight plastic waste, water cups, Alaska Airlines has announced it will no longer use plastic cups to serve water to passengers.
Alaska is the first major airline to eliminate plastic cups and estimates that the measure will save 1.8 million pounds of single use plastic waste per year. Rather than plastic cups, water will be served in cardboard cartons provided by Boxed Water. These cartons are 92 percent plant-based and will replace the 22 million plastic cups and 32 million plastic bottles the airline currently disposes of each year.
The airline eliminated plastic straws and stirrers in 2018, but they will continue to serve other beverages in plastic cups. Although this is a big step for a major airline, smaller Lisbon-based Hi Fly charter airline says it eliminated all single use plastic on board in 2020.