Delta is the latest airline to act upon its promises to become a more sustainable carrier in the future. While perhaps seen as small steps, by sheer volume, these amount to some substantial changes. Starting this month, the airline will refresh its onboard product offerings with artisan-made amenity kits, introduce recycled bedding, reusable and biodegradable service ware and premium canned wine. Together, the products will reduce onboard single-use plastic consumption by approximately 2.2 million kilos per year – that’s roughly the weight of 1,500 standard-sized cars while having the additional benefit of increasing Delta’s support of minority- and women-run businesses.

“Decisions we make on every aspect of our product are opportunities to make good on two core promises: to deliver exceptional customer experiences and build a better future for people and our planet,” said Allison Ausband, E.V.P. and Chief Customer Experience Officer. “These latest additions deliver something unique to our customers, reduce our environmental impact and enable job creation for the communities we serve around the world.”

Throughout COVID, Delta took the opportunity to deepen its relationships with suppliers in key markets, which has delivered more locally sourced menu items, and introduced a beverage lineup that spotlights the first U.S. Black-owned distillery, Du Nord Social Spirits.  

“Delta has always put people at the centre of everything we do,” said Amelia DeLuca, V.P. of Sustainability. “It’s this people-first focus that led Delta to source new products onboard that reduce waste, bolster diverse suppliers and build communities. We want to protect our planet and the people on it, and the products we provide onboard are the latest way we’re living out this commitment.”

Spearheading the latest sustainability drive is the new Delta One Amenity Kit which is now by Someone Somewhere, Featuring Grown Alchemist Skincare Products. Someone Somewhere is a Certified B Corporation that combines Mexican traditional handcrafts with innovative products, and Delta’s partnership with the brand has created jobs for more than 250 people in five of Mexico’s most vulnerable states.

The new amenity kit eliminates five single-use plastic items such as zippers and packaging, reducing plastic use by up to 41,000kgs on an annual basis. Someone Somewhere’s artisanal production processes also eliminates waste and utilises regenerated cotton. The kits contain sustainable, wellness-focused products including a Someone Somewhere eye mask, Grown Alchemist natural lip balm and hand lotion, and a Humble Co. bamboo toothbrush. Both Grown Alchemist products onboard will transition to aluminium packaging in April 2022. You may even notice the recycled pen is the same as found on sister airline Virgin Atlantic.

Delta has also retired Westin’s range, in favour of a soft, comfortable and premium bedding set made from more than 100 recycled plastic bottles, which will make use of 25 million recycled bottles annually.

The airline is among the first to use 100% recycled polyester (rPET) bedding and – combined with the new use of reusable bedding packaging – will reduce single-use plastic use by up to 117,000 kilos per year. The sets began appearing on board in December 2021.

Delta has also continued to overhaul its onboard service ware globally by introducing products made from natural and recycled materials to replace and reduce plastic usage. When the project is complete later this year, the transition will reduce annual plastic use by up to 2 million kilos.

Delta now offers bamboo cutlery for domestic First Class fresh packaged meals and on select international flights. Later this year, all international Main Cabin customers will also see new dishware made from biodegradable material, bamboo cutlery and a premium paper placemat. This bolsters Delta’s 2018 ambition, where it removed a variety of single-use plastic items onboard, including stir sticks, service ware wrappers, and straws.

Delta most likely won’t be the only airline this year to reinforce its sustainability commitments, but it is certainly one of the first in 2022.


Posted by:Jonny Clark

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