The last (plastic) straw for Alaska Airlines

Courtesy Alaska Airlines 

Earth Day  – which this year highlighted Lonely Whale’s “For a Strawless Ocean” campaign to get people and companies to stop using plastic straws – has come and gone. But the earth still needs our help.

So it’s good to know that Alaska Airlines has jumped on the No Straws bandwagon. Starting July 16 the carrier will stop serving single-use, non-recyclable, plastic stir straws and citrus picks with drinks and will replace them with sustainable alternatives in its airport lounges and on all domestic and international commercial flights.

What’s wrong with plastic straws?  They non-recyclalbe and if they end up on the oceans, they can kill  birds and other marine life.

In 2017, Alaska Airlines handed out 22 million plastic stir straws and citrus picks. This summer, they’ll instead start using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified white birch stir sticks and a bamboo alternative for the citrus pick. People with special needs will be able to request non-plastic, marine-friendly straws.

Alaska Airlines has a good history of being eco-conscious.

Since it started tracking its recycling efforts in 2010, the airline says it has reduced passenger waste going to landfills by 54 percent.

The Seattle-based carrier has also replaced bottled beer with aluminum cans -which are lighter and easier to recycle and introducted a policy to refill plastic cups rather than offering a new cup for every round of beverage service.

“Building on our grassroots, employee-led recycling program, we’re thrilled to take the next step to protecting our land and oceans by removing single-use non-recyclable plastic straws from our planes,” said Jacqueline Drumheller, sustainability manager for Alaska Airlines, in a statement.

Let’s see if other airines join the no-straw party.

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