An Airline with a Green Heart

refillable water station

Water bottle filling station with an integrated fountain.

I found myself on a flight recently (yes, I know!) to the East Coast. As I paged through Alaska Airlines’ in-flight magazine, an article by Keith Loveless entitled Waste Not caught my eye (page 9). In a highlighted sidebar there were suggested steps passengers could take to make their trip a little bit more sustainable. Two stood out:

  1. Pack light. If every passenger packed just 2lbs less the airline would reduce their carbon emissions by the equivalent of 32 railcars worth of coal [per year, is implied but not stated]. It made me curious how much the typical suitcase weighs, but I guess it doesn’t matter as long as all of us bring less onboard in the future.
  2. Fill an empty water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Pack an empty water bottle then fill it after passing through security. I love this idea.

Now, the next thing we need are bottle filling stations at all airports, like the one pictured in this post. Many people think drinking fountains spread germs and so avoid them. Bottle filling stations are perceived to be more sanitary and that’s why they’re more likely to be used. Plastic water bottle production is a fossil-fuel intensive process and uses more than 17 million barrels of oil a year. Bringing and filling your own water bottle is a very sustainable thing to do.

Also, AA is giving $60,000 to the conservation project with the most votes on FB – it’s hard to choose between the six Nature Conservancy projects.

It was a nice surprise to see an airline thinking about ways to reduce their impact on the earth and encouraging their passengers to do the same. Way to go Alaska Airlines!

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