(ANA) All Nippon Airways’ flush-before-you-fly program.

Toilet paper

I was pretty sure the story about ANA (All Nippon Airways) asking passengers to pee before boarding – to help lighten the airplane’s, uh, load – was an offhand joke that went viral.

Especially when I couldn’t find anything about the campaign on the airline’s Web site.

But that was just because I can’t read Japanese.  An English version of the press release outlining the flush-before-you-fly program has now been released. And they’re not kidding: as part of a campaign to test out some environmentally-friendly strategies, the airline will indeed be asking passengers to empty their bladders before boarding.

During October, ANA will also be testing out some other “e-ideas” on a variety of domestic and international flights, including offering eco-focused in-flight merchandise and stepping up the in-flight recycling program.   Paper drinking cups and plastic drink bottles will be collected and recycled.  Passengers will also be given chopsticks made of recycled wood products and paper napkins blended with used green tea generated during the manufacturing of green tea drinks.

“Green tea,” notes the airline, “has antibacterial properties and a deodorizing effect, and also provides a pleasant scent for passengers.”