Alaska urges passengers to use refillable water bottles

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September 13, 2019
Alaska water bottle
Bringing your own water bottle could help the planet. Photo; Newsfoto/Alaska Airlines)

ALASKA Airlines is urging flyers to help reduce single-use plastic by bringing a reusable water bottle and filling it before they fly.

Water filling stations are becoming more common at airports as part of the backlash against plastic and worries about the ubiquitous material’s impact on the planet.

Passengers simply bring an empty refillable bottle through security (don’t fill it beforehand) and fill it before they got on the plane at either a dedicated water station or an older-style water fountain.

READ: Greener US airlines fly in the face of “shamer” criticism.

This has the added advantage of avoiding highly-priced bottled water in the terminal.

Alaska’s #FillBeforeYouFly initiative is the latest manifestation of this trend and is part of a wider move by the carrier to reduce inflight waste per passenger going to landfills by 70 percent.

The airline says plastic bottles are among the top five items found in beach clean-ups around the world and points to a prediction from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that the ocean is expected to contain a metric tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025.

“We’re passionate about working with our guests, employees, airports, and partners to reduce waste, protect habitats, and improve water health,” said Alaska Airlines vice president external relations Diana Birkett Rakow.

“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 four million plastic cups per year. That’s a big lift.”

Alaska is partnering with environmental leaders Lonely Whale, MiiR and Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), and with Sea-Tac International Airport in its environmental efforts.

It is also offering to 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.

Since it started auditing its recycling efforts in 2010, Alaska has reduced per-passenger waste going to landfills by 65 percent and flight attendants have captured more than 15,000 tons of recyclable materials, about the same weight as 320 Boeing 737-900ERs.

“While we’ve made progress, there’s a long road ahead of us,’’ Birkett Rakow said.

“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.”