UNITED, We Can Save the Sea and Ourselves!

  • by: Grace
  • target: United Airlines

Flying to travel far distances has become very common in our culture, and we all love it when our airlines give us those free sodas, juices, or waters when we're in the middle of a long flight. But what happens to all those plastic cups we don't think about taking and throwing out?

Thousands of tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean because it is not disposed of properly. Plastic can take decades to hundreds of years to break down, and even after it has broken down, pieces of microplastic - which are actually more deadly to marine wildlife - can remain for even longer. Consumption of plastic by wildlife, such as fish, can in turn be harmful to humans who consume fish and therefore plastic. The best solution to ending plastic waste in the ocean is to reduce the amount of plastic consumed by our global community. A huge contributor of plastic waste are airlines which provide customers with plastic cups for drinks on almost every flight. I fly United Airlines very often and I want them to change their plastic policy and pave the way for an even friendlier skies as they might say.

United Airlines has already had approximately 143 million passengers in 2017. Dixie 16 oz plastic cups cost $85 for 500 versus $80 for 500 GreenStripe biodegradable cups. United could save $1,430,000 in a year by switching to these biodegradable cups. This money could go to expanding their company, providing more complimentary services to entice customers, or give employee bonuses. They could even make more environmentally friendly changes with this money! United Airlines is a major airline and if they make this change, other airlines are sure to make changes to appease customers who care about the environment.

This petition was inspired by a trip to Costa Rica through Rustic Pathways (#sorustic) where the friends I met on this project and I got to really see the impact of plastic waste on the beach and work in turtle conservation. Plastic straws are the number one killer of turtles, and plastic waste can disrupt their digestive system and kill them.

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