American Airlines Joins Straw Elimination Brigade

by John Harper

The same week that Hyatt and Starbucks broke plans to forever dump plastic drink straws, American Airlines boarded the same bandwagon. AA will stop providing plastic straws for in-flight drinks and cocktails, or in Admirals Club lounges, by November, according to The Points Guy.

While straws will become a special-request item at Hyatt locations, American will offer straws and stir sticks made of different material. Alaska Airlines did the same.

Here’s a present accounting of airlines and other companies pulling straws sometime this year:

Other businesses are eliminating other disposable food service items. Dunkin Donuts’ parent group plans to dump plastic foam cups in the next two years. Yum! Brands, which owns the Taco Bell and KFC brands, is working on cutting down different types of packaging, but specifics are sparse.

Assessing the net environmental impact of competing disposable food service materials is complex, and doesn’t always favor alternatives over plastic. Plastic foam is often perceived as more harmful than paper cups, but increased packaging weight associated with heavier-by-volume paper packaging correlates with greater greenhouse emissions.

Ocean cleanliness seems to be a bigger concern in recent decisions, as oceanographers and environmental scientist sound alarm about plastic buildup in the world’s water bodies. Brands seem leary to be associated with images like this:

Trash Beach American Airlines Straws

Plastic buildup in the world’s oceans is prompting alarm by environmental scientists and oceanograhpers. Image by polihale | Wikimedia Commons

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WR July 10, 2018 - 8:40 pm

Well all our problems are solved now. Finally we can all live in peace and prosperity, now that the evil plastic straw has been vanquished!

chuck July 11, 2018 - 7:39 am

It’s like hammering a nail into a house that is falling down. It might make you feel better but really doens’t do anything for the problem (if there is one). Even all the recycling that home owners do doesn’t make a huge difference in waste disposal but it makes everyone feel that they matter and are making a difference.


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