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American Airlines is the next major company making moves to cut down on plastic waste by introducing a ban on plastic straws and stirrers. The airline announced that it is no longer going to be offering these “traditional” single-use items on its flights and in lounges, instead opting for a switch to biodegradable alternatives.

The airline shared in a news release that both the new biodegradable stirrers and straws will debut in lounges this July, while flights will be affected by the change in November. The drink stirrers, normally made from plastic, will be replaced by wood stir sticks made out of sustainable bamboo. The company also announced that it will be transitioning to all eco-friendly flatware in its lounges.

“We’re very excited and proud to share this initiative with our team members and customers,” Jill Surdek, Vice President of Flight Service, said in the statement. “We’re cognizant of our impact on the environment and we remain committed to doing our part to sustain the planet for future generations of travelers.”

By making the switch to biodegradable options, the carrier expects to eliminate more than 71,000 pounds of plastic per year.

Plastic straws have recently been targeted by Starbucks, McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King. Straws are among the most common plastic items found in the ocean, as their small size makes them nearly impossible to recycle. In the U.S. alone, around 500 million plastic straws are used every day. To learn how you can be a part of the change by choosing eco-friendly alternatives to straws and other single-use items like cups and bottles, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign.

Image source: American Airlines

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