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Alaska Airlines Is Become The First US Airline To Dump Plastic Straws & Picks!

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From July 16, 2018, Alaska Airlines and Lonely Whale will replace single-use, non-recyclable, plastic stir straws and citrus picks with sustainable alternatives in its airport lounges and on all domestic and international commercial flights. The goal of Alaska Airlines is to reduce in-flight waste by 70 % by 2020.

The vice president of external relations of Alaska Airlines Diana Birkett Rakow said, “Whether providing fantastic service or leading in sustainability, caring about people and communities is in our DNA. We are thrilled to partner with Lonely Whale to take this next step in our sustainability journey and help keep the places we live and fly beautifully for years to come. It is now appropriate to end plastic pollution, was the theme of Earth Day.”

The airlines dump plastic straws & picks. Plastic straws are of special concern because they cannot be recycled and they’ve been shown to kill birds and other marine life. The airlines handed out the plastic stir straws and citrus picks, which will be replaced with white birch stir sticks and a bamboo alternative respectively. Non-plastic, marine-friendly straws will be made available to guests with special needs and upon request.

To carry out this initiative, Alaska Airlines is partnering with Lonely Whale, a Seattle non-profit that focuses on market-based solutions to protect the ocean. Lonely Whale launched “For A Strawless Ocean,” a free public resource to reduce ocean plastic pollution last year. The resource was designed as a toolkit to educate and demonstrate practical use cases.

The executive director of Lonely Whale Dune Ives said, “Assisting Alaska Airlines in removing plastic straws is an incredible opportunity. The airline has in-flight recycling program of any U.S. carrier to date, and their previous and future commitments to biofuels and sustainability make them the perfect partner for Lonely Whale.”

Alaska Airlines has reduced passenger waste to landfill by 54 percent since it started auditing its recycling efforts in 2010.

Alaska Airlines has replaced bottled beer with aluminum cans, which are lighter and easier to recycle to further reduce environmental impact. In addition, a policy to refill plastic cups rather than requiring a new cup for every round of beverage service was reintroduced.

Condé Nast Traveler reported that outside the US, other airlines have taken action on plastic pollution. Fiji and Thai Airways have promised to reduce single-use plastics and Ryanair intends to be “plastic-free” by 2023.

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