Alaska Airlines Becomes First U.S. Carrier to Completely Drop Plastic Cupsby Daniel McCarthy /
Five years after it started removing plastic straws and stir sticks from inflight services, Alaska Airlines is fully going paper over plastic.
This week, the carrier announced that it had officially completed its transition to paper cups for inflight beverages, becoming the first U.S. airline to do so.
Alaska said that the move will eliminate more than 55 million plastic cups annually, which amounts to 2.2 million pounds of plastic waste every year, the equivalent of 24 Boeing 737s.
Travelers flying Alaska will now drink out of either Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper cups or reusable glassware (mostly First Class guests).
"Doing the right thing is one of our core values and nothing is more right and urgent than protecting the beautiful places that we connect our guests to through flight," said Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products for Alaska Airlines.
"This is another important step in our journey to eliminate single-use plastics and an important step for the industry to see how product innovations can chart a course to a greener future."
Aside from getting rid of plastic straws and stir sticks, along with dropping plastic cups, Alaska Airlines in 2021 switched from inflight plastic water bottles to Boxed Water, which was another first for the airline industry.
The ultimate goal for Alaska is to replace its top five waste-producing items from onboard services by 2025. It is also pushing towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Alaska has launched a number of other innovations just over the last year, including a new subscription flight service, an electronic bag tag program, and more.