This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Following similar moves by Alaska, American and other travel service providers, United Airlines just became the latest US carrier to give a formal farewell to the plastic straw. That’s great news, in theory, but it doesn’t exactly seem like a tremendous sacrifice. I don’t think I’ve ever been offered a straw on United — come to think of it, I’ve never seen a proper plastic straw on any airline, ever.
The airline’s blue plastic cups are much more common, though fortunately they’re recyclable, and in the process of being replaced in premium cabins. Meanwhile, with this new United announcement, the airline will be “eliminating non-recyclable plastic stirring sticks and cocktail picks on our aircraft, and replacing them with an environmentally-friendly alternative made out of bamboo.” The shift will begin in November.
There’s still plenty of work to be done, though — United’s snack boxes alone generate significant waste:
As the airline points out, products made from plastic can take up to 22 years to degrade, and even then they don’t disappear completely. The airline provides some other helpful suggestions as well, including:
- Bring along a refillable bottle to use while you travel
- Make sure to recycle any paper products like old magazines or newspapers
- Separate your garbage items from your recyclable items until collected by a flight attendant
- Use the United mobile app instead of a paper boarding pass
We’ve seen the press releases, but with more and more airlines jumping on the #SheddTheStraw bandwagon, do you think these in-flight replacements are worth all the hubbub? Have you ever used a plastic straw on an airplane?
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 points! With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 60,000 point sign up bonus worth up to $1,200 in value, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards