September 19 2019  |  Catering

Alaska Airlines urges decreased use of plastics

By Rick Lundstrom

Alaska Airlines will finance tree planting for passenger who post a photo of a pre-filled bottle on their flights

Alaska Airlines has launched a #FillBeforeYouFly initiative to encourage passengers and employees to reduce the use of single-use plastics in the cabin.

“The aim: rally with flyers to bring their own water bottle and fill it before they board,” said a release from Alaska Airlines. “This is one of Alaska Airlines' many sustainability efforts to reduce inflight waste per passenger going to landfills by 70% by 2020.”

Alaska Airlines is working with environmentally conscious groups like Lonely Whale, MiiR and Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), and with Sea-Tac International Airport, a partner in sustainability from new building construction to daily operations.

The airline will plant a tree for every passenger who brings a pre-filled water bottle onto their flight and posts a photo to social media tagging @AlaskaAir with the hashtag #FillBeforeYouFly. Alaska passengers can help BEF achieve its goal of planting one million trees on the West Coast.

In 2018, Alaska Airlines replaced single-use plastic stir straws and citrus picks with sustainable alternatives as part of its #StrawlessSkies initiative, in partnership with Lonely Whale. Through #FillBeforeYouFly, Alaska Airlines is aligning with the Lonely Whale #HydrateLike campaign, popular on social media channels and inspiring individuals and companies alike to rethink reliance on single-use plastic bottles.

Since it started auditing its recycling efforts in 2010, Alaska Airlines says it has reduced per-passenger waste going to landfills by 65%, essentially cutting waste in half. In the last nine years, flight attendants captured over 15,000 tons of recyclable materials, about the same weight as 320 737-900ERs. Alaska Airlines also recently replaced bottled beer with aluminum cans, which are lighter and easier to recycle.

"We know this is a resource intensive business with many stakeholders involved in the journey," said Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines' vice president of external relations."While we've made progress, there's a long road ahead of us. We're working with supply chain partners and employees to come up with solutions to reduce waste, adopt sustainable practices and eliminate single-use plastics inflight. Change takes time; we value the collective impact our customers and employees can make today."

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