Alaska Airlines announced its #FillBeforeYouFly initiative to partner with guests and employees to continue reducing the use of single-use plastics inflight. The aim is to rally with flyers to bring their own water bottle and fill it before they board. This is one of Alaska Airlines' sustainability efforts to reduce inflight waste per passenger going to landfills by 70 percent by 2020.
"We're passionate about working with our guests, employees, airports and partners to reduce waste, protect habitats and improve water health," said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines' vice president of external relations, in a statement. "Land, water and animals are incredibly special parts of the places we live and fly—and it takes many different company and individual actions together to protect them for the long term. This is just one step. If just 10 percent of our guests bring their own pre-filled water bottle when they fly and choose reusables, it could save more than 700,000 plastic water bottles and 4 million plastic cups per year. That's a big lift."
Plastic bottles are among the top five most common items found in beach cleanups around the world, and according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by 2025, the ocean is expected to contain 1 metric ton of plastic for every 3 metric tons of fish.
Alaska Airlines is partnering with environmental leaders Lonely Whale, MiiR and Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) and with Sea-Tac International Airport, a partner in sustainability from new building construction to daily operations.
The airline said it will plant a tree for every passenger who brings a pre-filled water bottle onto their flight and posts a photo to social media tagging @AlaskaAir with the hashtag #FillBeforeYouFly. Alaska guests can help BEF achieve its goal of planting one million trees on the West Coast to improve the environment and restore habitats for local fish and wildlife.
In 2018, Alaska Airlines became the first airline to replace single-use plastic stir straws and citrus picks with sustainable alternatives as part of its #StrawlessSkies initiative, in partnership with Lonely Whale. Through #FillBeforeYouFly, Alaska Airlines is aligning with the Lonely Whale #HydrateLike campaign, popular on social media channels and inspiring individuals and companies alike to rethink reliance on single-use plastic bottles.
From the millions of gallons of fuel saved to the tiny plastic straws that were removed last year, Alaska Airlines has a track record of flying greener. Since it started auditing its recycling efforts in 2010, Alaska has reduced per-passenger waste going to landfills by 65 percent, essentially cutting waste in half. In the last nine years, flight attendants captured more than 15,000 tons of recyclable materials, about the same weight as 320 Boeing 737-900ERs. Alaska Airlines also recently replaced bottled beer with aluminum cans, which are lighter and easier to recycle.
"We know this is a resource intensive business with many stakeholders involved in the journey," added Birkett Rakow. "While we've made progress, there's a long road ahead of us. We're working with supply chain partners and employees to come up with solutions to reduce waste, adopt sustainable practices and eliminate single-use plastics inflight. Change takes time; we value the collective impact our customers and employees can make today."