Delta to cut use of plastic straws, utensils, stir sticks and wrappers

Plastic straws are one of the top 10 plastic items found in beach cleanups every year.

Plastic straws are one of the top 10 plastic items found in beach cleanups every year.

Delta Air Lines says it plans to cut the use of plastic straws, stir sticks, wrappers and utensils on flights and in its airport Sky Clubs.

But the shift will not be immediate.

On flights, Atlanta-based Delta said it will eliminate red plastic straws and stir sticks and replace them with bamboo stirrers and birch stir sticks starting in mid-2019.

A number of companies have shifted to compostable items to comply with certain airports’ requirements.

Delta started making the shift on straws and stir sticks in Sky Clubs in Seattle, where airport rules have required compostable or recyclable service ware since 2017.

Combined, the Sky Club and in-flight transitions will eliminate more than 183 million plastic straws and stir sticks from planes and clubs, according to Delta.

The moves are part of an ongoing effort to move toward more environmentally-friendly options, expected to eliminate more than 300,000 pounds of plastic waste annually, the airline says.

Delta removed plastic wrap from its cutlery in coach class in April. It also plans to eliminate plastic wrapping from amenity kits in business class starting in mid-2019, as well as reduce Styrofoam at its Atlanta headquarters and replace it with compostable or reusable items.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport officials have spent years attempting to develop a composting and recycling facility called Green Acres. It has not yet been built. But a company to construct and run the facility was selected a year ago.

Delta has a youth advisory council that helps “guide the airline’s efforts to minimize use of single-use plastics and support other sustainability initiatives,” and will take applications starting in November for new members.