The Seattle-based airline said it has completely phased out plastic cups on its flights, replacing them with paper cups. It's all part of a sustainability program that the carrier says will eliminate nearly 55 million plastic items a year.
Flight attendants will now serve drinks in-flight in special forest-certified paper cups , or in reusable glassware in First Class.
Alaska Airlines says the move makes it the first U.S. airline to completely eliminate single-use plastic cups from its flights.
The plastic phase-out began in 2018 as part of a broader sustainability campaign that included moving away from plastic straws and stirrers.
But it's not just about drinks. Food and cutlery on flights is also usually packaged and served in plastic. With billions of people flying every year, it's impossible to calculate how much specific waste airlines generate.
Today, conversations about sustainability have come to the fore, and the aviation industry is looking for ways to limit the amount of waste during flight. Shortly after Alaska announced it would stop making plastic straws and stirrers, other major U.S. airlines — American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have followed suit.
American has pledged to use alternatives to plastic cutlery and stirrers in its cabins. United said it would replace plastic straws and stirrers with bamboo ones. Delta has announced plans to remove all single-use items such as utensils, wrappers, stirrers and straws.
For Alaska Airlines, over the past few years, it has launched many sustainability initiatives: the distribution of water in packages and encouraging passengers to fill their own bottles with water before boarding.
The carrier also said it intends to work towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040 through various strategies, such as switching to cleaner jet fuel.