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Delta Moves Toward Replacing Plastic Cups for Inflight Drinks

You might get an option of paper or plastic at the grocery store, but onboard its flights, Delta Air Lines wants to make that choice for you.

This month, Delta has begun using paper cups instead of plastic to serve drinks onboard select domestic flights, according to a news release. It's the final round of testing for the special paper cups which the airline said it developed itself, and while it seems like a small change, the airline thinks it's going to make a big difference in achieving its sustainability goals going forward.

Delta flight attendants will be serving hot, cold, and alcoholic drinks in these stackable paper cups on coast-to-coast flights within the U.S. and select additional flights from now through the spring. The airline is planning to roll out the use of these paper cups on all its flights worldwide by 2025.

When fully implemented, Delta says using solely paper cups will save nearly 7 million pounds of plastic waste – or the equivalent of 1,300 pickup trucks' worth.


Plastic cup Delta flight
Delta's plastic cup drink service could soon be a thing of the past as the company aims to move to compostable paper cups by 2025.


Of course, when it comes to sustainability, Delta flies a fleet of jet fuel-burning airplanes, so the paper cups effort is just a drop in the bucket comparatively. But according to Delta's top sustainability advocate, every bit counts.

“[Paper cups] are a highly visible and tangible example for our customers and our people of how Delta is taking our commitment to embed sustainability in everything we do seriously,” Chief Sustainability Officer Amelia DeLuca said in a statement.

Many of the current paper cups Delta uses for hot beverages like coffee also have plastic linings, so Delta developed a whole new paper cup for this sustainability initiative. The new, compostable versions of the paper cups are recyclable at airports where recycling facilities exist.


Bottom Line

You might be sipping your next inflight drink out of one of Delta's new paper cups this year or next as the airline pilots a new program to eliminate plastic waste this winter and spring.

What do you think of Delta's new policy?


Featured image courtesy of Delta Air Lines. 

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