Alaska Airlines says it has launched “the US industry’s first water service free of single-use plastic bottles and plastic cups”.

Inflight drinking water now comes in 92 per cent plant-based cartons provided by Boxed Water, and customers are offered recyclable paper cups.

The airline says that the changes will remove 22 million plastic cups and 32 million plastic bottles per year from Alaska flights, eliminating an estimated 1.8 million pounds of plastics from the carrier’s flights per year.

Alaska Airlines introduced Boxed Water in first class and Horizon Air-operated flights earlier this year, and said “the trial was a success with guests and employees, with surveyed fliers preferring Boxed Water over plastic bottled water at a rate of two-to-one”.

The airline said that “In identifying the most renewable packaged water option, our Green Team Employee Business Resource Group spent months researching and vetting package materials, water quality, life cycle analysis, production impacts, and recycling capabilities”.

The carrier also highlighted other sustainability initiatives including its pre-order food option which has enabled it to “dramatically decreased the food waste that was experienced pre-Covid”.

Alaska is targeting net zero carbon emissions by 2040, with near-term 2025 targets to be the most fuel-efficient US airline by 2025.

Commenting on the news Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products for Alaska Airlines, said:

“Only 9 per cent of plastic is recycled nationwide – the rest ends up in landfills, burned or in our environment. Although we have an industry-leading recycling programme, the reality is that we need to move to renewable options.

“Getting to this point hasn’t been easy. We investigated several options with our supply chain – and this year we finally found a product our guests love and a partner whose mission-driven values mirror our own.”