Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Thinking Green Thursday
It's Thinking Green Thursday time again, thanks to Michelle.
I have been reading the quarterly magazine from Real Green. It included an article from Responsible Shopper in which their researchers presented the sorry situation they observed when they did a study of the recycling records of our major airlines. They scored each one A to F. The results are here:
As the scorecard says, "What goes up must come down".
That includes newspapers and magazines, all of those plastic cups and bottles, and aluminum cans. The researchers discovered that no less than 9,000 tons (TONS!) of plastic cups, and 4,000 tons of aluminum are sent to the dump - unrecycled - by the airlines each year. The newspapers and magazines could fill a football field, 230 feet deep.
As you see by the chart, the best performer on the list is Delta, and they earned only a "B". They do seem to have the best plan for the coming year. The worst on the list, US Airways, doesn't give any details of what their plans might be. They claim that it is very difficult to train their employees to recycle. I don't really understand that argument. Not far above them is British Airways. That makes me unhappy, since it has been my own favorite choice. But they also give no specifics when asked their plans. Virgin Air has pledged a 50% improvement by 2012. Well, OK, but how come it will take so long to only do half?
Part of the problem is that the airports themselves vary widely in their facilities for sorting and disposing of recycling. Interestingly enough, American Airlines personnel do recycle the cans, because they sell them to help finance their own Wings Foundation, which aids flight attendants who need help. That would seem to defy the statement that training employees is too difficult, right?
So - what can passengers do to try to turn around this sad situation?
First, let the airlines know how you feel: www.greenamericatoday.org.
There is a letter there you may sign if you wish, addressed to the airline executives.
2. Whenever possible, choose the airline that does the best job.
3. Where permitted, bring your own reusable water bottle.
4. Carry a snack yourself in a reusable container.
5. If you have recyclable waste, carry it off the plane with you and dispose of it properly.
6. Ask the gate agent and flight attendant about their recycling when you board.