For those of us who have been around long enough, you probably remember the words of Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon back in 1969.
While it isn’t quite as monumental as that, the news that Alaska Airlines is no longer using single-use throwaway plastic bottles of water on its flights, to me, is a huge step forward for the airline industry. And hopefully, for other uses of plastic beyond flying.
Beginning November 4, Alaska is switching to a water branded as “Boxed Water is Better”, a company that uses 92% plant-based cartons instead of plastic bottles. While the airline will continue to use plastic cups to serve other cold beverages, certainly it’s just a matter of time before this changes too.
The change to the new water product began in 2019 when the fifth-largest American air carrier began searching for new ways to reduce their environmental impact. Knowing that it could do better beyond flying fuel efficient aircraft which will eventually make the switch to cleaning burning non-fossil jetfuel, Alaska quickly learned that its #1 contribution to waste was clearly single-use water bottles. Even though many of these bottles have been recycled for years, they also acknowledged that too many of them ended up in the ocean or landfills.
To put this all in perspective, Alaska estimates that by the end of next year it will have removed 22 million plastic cups and 32 million plastic bottles from circulation. That equates to 1.8 million pounds of plastic, or about the weight of 18 Boeing 737s.
There is hope for the future after all, and this just a new beginning.