No more plastic cups for Alaska Airlines

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Your ginger ale will no longer be served in a plastic cup if you’re flying Alaska Airlines.

The Seattle-based carrier said it has completely eliminated plastic cups on its flights, replacing them with paper cups. It’s all part of a sustainability push that the airline says will eliminate the use of nearly 55 million plastic cups a year.

Alaska will now serve inflight beverages in Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper cups or reusable glassware (in first class). The FSC certifies products from “responsibly managed” forests, according to its website.

Alaska says the move makes it the first U.S. airline to fully remove single-use plastic cups from its flights. Alaska started phasing out plastic in 2018 as part of a broader sustainability push that began with eliminating plastic straws and stirrers.

In addition to beverages, food and utensils on flights are also typically wrapped and served in plastic. Given that billions of people fly each year, it’s unclear how much inflight waste airlines generate.

However, as conversations surrounding sustainability have come to the forefront, the airline industry has sought ways to limit inflight waste. Shortly after Alaska announced it would discontinue plastic straws and stirrers, other major U.S. airlines like American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines took similar steps.

At the time, American vowed to use alternatives to plastic flatware and stirrers in its lounges. United said it would replace plastic straws and stirrers with ones made from bamboo. Delta announced plans to remove other single-use items such as utensils, wrappers, stirrers and straws.

As for Alaska, it has launched a slew of sustainability initiatives during the past few years, like serving Boxed Water on flights and encouraging passengers to fill their own water bottles before boarding.

Alaska also said it aims to work toward achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 through a variety of strategies, such as expanding its use of sustainable aviation fuel.