Alaska Airlines scraps plastic cups for inflight beverages

The airline’s transition to paper cups will eliminate its use of more than 55 million plastic cups annually.
Paper cups on Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Airlines began the process of reducing plastic waste during inflight service in 2018. / Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines has transitioned to paper cups for inflight beverages, eliminating its use of more than 55 million plastic cups annually. 

Alaska Airlines says it is the first U.S. airline company to make this move. Inflight beverages are now served in Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper cups or, for most first-class services, reusable glassware.

"Doing the right thing is one of our core values and nothing is more right and urgent than protecting the beautiful places that we connect our guests to through flight," Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products for Alaska Airlines, said in a statement. "This is another important step in our journey to eliminate single-use plastics and an important step for the industry to see how product innovations can chart a course to a greener future."

Alaska Airlines began reducing plastic waste in 2018 by removing plastic straws and stir sticks from inflight services. The airline made further progress in 2021 when it replaced plastic water bottles with Boxed Water.

"Eliminating plastics is a team effort," said Traynor-Corey. "It requires broad collaboration with our supply chain partners and inflight team to make new products and practices that move us toward a future with less plastic. That progress only happens with a deeply shared commitment to care for our environment.”

The company has set a goal of replacing the five most waste-producing items in onboard service by 2025. Additionally, it established climate goals for its impacts on carbon, waste and water, including a five-part pathway to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.



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