A New Era of Inflight Cups is Dawning

A new era of inflight cups is dawning as the second major airline of the United States, Delta Air Lines, vowed to replace its plastic cups with recyclable and compostable cups as the aviation industry moves towards a greener, and cleaner future.
Compostable and Recyclable Cups

Delta Air Lines’ Step Towards a Greener Future – Compostable and Recyclable Cups

Efforts of Delta Air Lines to Reduce plastic waste

Soon on Delta Air Lines, passengers will be served their beverages in paper, recyclable, and compostable cups. Doesn’t matter if you drink ginger ale, water, coffee, or wine during your flight, you will be handed a recyclable and compostable paper cup, rather than the landfill polluting, plastic ones. This month, Delta Air Lines announced that it has been testing a new recyclable and compostable prototype cup on some of its transcontinental domestic flights. Even though in the past Delta Air Line has used paper cups, however, these new cups won’t be the same. Unlike the previous paper cups, these cups will not have plastic lining which means that they will be recyclable and compostable. 

This project is not a new one, it is one that the airline has been working on for several years as cups are needed for both cold and cold drinks and constitute half of the waste generated on planes. Delta Air Lines is working towards recyclable and compostable cups that are not only environmentally friendly but will also efficiently hold any type of drink, will be stackable as well as easy for the flight attendants to separate.

Once the recyclable and compostable cups prototype is approved, these cups will replace the old plastic and paper cups currently used on Delta Air Lines flights. According to the carrier, this step will help eliminate about 7 million pounds of single-use plastic each year, ensuring a greener and cleaner future. In a statement, Delta Air Lines’ chief sustainability officer, Amelia DeLuca stated:

“As an airline, our main goal is to decarbonize our business—a lot of which will come from what we fly, how we fly, and the fuel we use,” 

“But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also focus on what we can do right now within our own operation to be more sustainable. These cups are a great example of how Delta is working to address our impact through what we can control today. They’re 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.”

When Will Delta Air Lines Come Out with the New Compostable and Recyclable Cups?

Delta Air Lines Greener Future

As of yet, Delta Air Lines has not released a date when all of its planes will be equipped with the new compostable and recyclable Cups. However, the carrier did state that it will wrap up testing the prototype sometime in the spring of 2024. The plastic cups will however make a comeback on the flights of the carrier until new compostable and recyclable cups are manufactured to meet the demand of the fleet’s nearly one thousand planes. 

Once that is done the new beverage receptacles will be rolled out permanently. Once the carrier finishes the rollout of the new compostable and recyclable Cups it will become the second airline in the United States to replace plastic cups with paper cups in an effort to promote a cleaner and greener environment. 

The first United States airline to do so was Alaska Airlines. The U.S carrier announced in January of 2023 that it has finished transitioning away from plastic cups. For the past year the carrier has held true to its word using only boxed water container and responsibly sourced paper cups.

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