The last (plastic) straw for American

July 11, 2018
Virginn Australia ends use of plastic straws
Photo: American Airlines

Plastic straws are out and bamboo is in at American Airlines.

The US giant will phase out plastic straws from its flights and lounges and replace them with environmentally friendly alternatives.

The move begins in lounges this month when it will serve drinks with a biodegradable straw and a wood stir stick.

The airline will also begin moving towards eco-friendly flatware in its lounges.

The changes hit flights in November when the plastic straw/stir stick usually offered in onboard beverages moves to a stir stick made out “sustainable and environmentally friendly bamboo”

READ: American to simplify fleet with $US12 billion Boeing 787 order.

The airline says the changes will eliminate more than 71,000 pounds (32,205 kilos)  of plastic per year.

The American decision comes as plastic straws are under fire globally because of the damage plastic is doing to the environment.

The US uses more than 500 million plastic straws a day and ocean life is particularly vulnerable to the impact of what has become a ubiquitous part of modern life.

The small size of straws size makes them difficult to recycle and they often find their way to the ocean where they contribute to an increasing problem with microplastics. estimates that a failure to act now will mean there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

It points to research by Australia’s CSIRO that shows 71 percent of seabirds and 30percent of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomach.

Plastic straws are also among the top 10 items found during beach clean-ups.

“We’re cognizant of our impact on the environment and we remain committed to doing our part to sustain the planet for future generations of travelers,” American’s vice president flight services Jill Surdek said.

American also recycles aluminum and moved away from plastic cups to paper versions in 2015.