Air Canada/Instagram

Air Canada is undertaking a new initiative to reduce plastic waste onboard its aircrafts, and the first step is to eliminate all plastic stir sticks by summer 2019.

Instead of plastic, the airline company will be providing wooden stir sticks in its served drinks.

The move will save around 35 million plastic sticks per year, a number which, according to Air Canada, would join Halifax and Vancouver if laid end-to-end.

“Air Canada has made sustainability central to its decision-making and business processes, including acting responsibly with respect to the environment,” said Teresa Ehman, Director of Environmental Affairs at Air Canada.

“Through seemingly small measures such as eliminating plastic stir sticks, to major investments such as our $10 billion fleet modernization, we are making great strides in our ongoing sustainability programs, notably improving fuel efficiency by 43 per cent since 1990.”

The stir stick replacements will be made of bamboo and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure the products are responsibly sourced.

This initiative is undertaken in partnership with University of Toronto graduate students from the MSc in Sustainability Management program, who have worked with Air Canada to come up with plastic alternatives to use onboard aircrafts.

By 2020, the airline plans to recycle 50% of all approved items onboard its planes, and to reduce waste sent to landfills from offices, facilities, and Maple Leaf Lounges by 20%.

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