United Tries Compostable Cutlery, Recyclable Coffee Cups on Special ‘Eco’ Flight
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
United Airlines put the spotlight on the environment last week with its “Flight for the Planet” Chicago O’Hare to Los Angeles. The airline used the flight to demonstrate measures the industry can take to be more sustainable, including carbon offsetting, using biofuel and a zero cabin waste effort.
Passengers aboard the flight received a meal service with disposable items switched with recyclable, compostable or reusable alternatives. Plastic lids were swapped for beeswax, and plastic cutlery was replaced with compostable forks and knives. The airline also debuted an all-paper hot-beverage cup, an industry first, according to United.
United’s “Eco-Skies” liveried Boeing 737-900ER was used for the one-time environmentally focused service, which averaged 77 passenger miles per gallon for the trip. The pilots attempted to keep the plane’s environmental impact even lower through single-engine taxiing and a continuous descent, both of which are methods to reduce fuel consumption and noise pollution.
The biofuel for the flight was purchased from World Energy, a fuel company based in Boston and one of United’s fuel partners. This biofuel generates 60% less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional jet fuel over the course of a plane’s lifetime, the airline says. United currently uses a mix of biofuel and jet fuel to power many of its flights, including all departures from Los Angeles (LAX), its so-called “Eco-Hub” and the Flight for the Planet’s destination.
USA Today reports that the airline did not reach its zero waste goal for the flight event, as passengers created 14 pounds of garbage during their journey. Still, many airlines are trying to lower their environmental impact wherever possible, and efforts like United’s one-off flight demonstrate multiple routes the industry may take to adapt and become more green.
Overall, United’s effort comes as the travel industry at large is looking to burnish its green credentials amid growing awareness about the impact of travel on the environment. Aside from biofuels, airlines and other travel companies have gone public with other environmentally friendly moves, such as an effort by some to phase out singe-use plastics.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees