Richard's Blog

Plastic on our airlines

Came across this open letter from one of our passengers to David Cush, Virgin America CEO, and myself over the weekend. Having confronted the issue of plastic bottles on Necker recently it’s good to see passion for reducing waste alive in our businesses too, here’s my response…

Dear Beth,

Thank you very much for your post! I agree with your thoughts on how we must leave 'no stone un-turned' in terms of looking for ways to reduce waste. It’s appreciated when someone takes the time to raise an important issue such as this that impacts the airlines.

As a new airline that launched in 2007, I know Virgin America has worked hard to reinvent many aspects of the typical domestic flying experience for the better, including, as you note, a focus on trying to operate as responsibly as possible in a carbon-intensive industry. Your thoughts on reducing plastics onboard is one which is shared by the company and many of their teammates as well. At present, the airline has chosen to work with One Water as their onboard bottled water provider. One Water helps fund nonprofit clean water projects in under-served regions like Malawi. The actual bottles, made with recycled materials, also do offer a lower carbon footprint.

With investments in a new fleet, emerging carbon-efficient aircraft technology, and a now LEED Platinum certified facility at our home airport at SFO, Virgin America's goal is to focus energies on the larger impacts of our footprint. But as you rightly note, even small changes add up. In that vein, the company along with its teammate-led Green Team is always looking at ways to improve the airline's carbon footprint and I've passed along your post to them.

It would be great to sit down with you and work out how all three of the Virgin airlines can reduce plastic usage further. We’ve achieved this in our hotels, so I am optimistic we can make similar progress in the skies and we find that when Virgin achieves something like this all the other airlines in time will follow. So your letter could start a real transformation in the skies.

Also, loved the description of the Virgin America planes as “my little womb in the sky.” Delightful!



By . Founder of Virgin Group

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