Coming off a time that further highlighted some of the unsustainable aspects of travel, airlines are looking for ways to lessen their environmental impact—beyond issues of carbon offsets and fuel consumption. Delta is among those leading the charge, and this month the US carrier is introducing four green-minded amenities across its cabins that, together, will reduce Delta’s onboard single-use plastic consumption by nearly five million pounds annually.
Premium cabin regulars will get to enjoy the bulk of these new additions. First up: Fliers in the top Delta One cabin can now get comfy on soft, cushy new bedding made from 100-percent recyclable materials. Each blanket-and-pillow set is made from over 100 recycled plastic bottles, which will translate to Delta using around 25 million recycled bottles a year.
Front-cabin passengers will also find a new gift waiting for them in their Delta One cocoons: artisan-crafted amenity kits created in partnership with Someone Somewhere, a Mexican apparel brand and Certified B Corporation. Replacing the current Tumi amenity kits, these handmade bags will hold five sustainable, wellness-focused products, including a Someone Somewhere eye mask, Grown Alchemist natural lip balm and hand cream and the Humble Co.’s bamboo toothbrush and natural toothpaste. The bag itself is made from recycled cotton threads that would have otherwise been thrown away.
Aside from their green advantage, the zipper-free kits also showcase the airline’s commitment to social and cultural impact. “The partnership truly goes beyond a beautiful amenity kit,” Sam Sibble, director of supply chain management at Delta Air Lines, tells Robb Report. “Not only does Someone Somewhere make beautiful products that will help us reduce plastic use onboard, but they are also incredibly people-focused by providing sustainable jobs to artisans.”
It’s a novel approach amidst a sky filled with designer and luxury partnerships. Someone Somewhere works with independent artisans in Mexico, mostly women, to empower them as independent, income-earning leaders in their communities. Each onboard amenity kit comes with a QR code that passengers can scan to meet and even send a direct message to the artisan who made their products.
Antonio Nuno, CEO and co-founder of Someone Somewhere, tells Robb Report that he hopes Delta’s efforts can help travelers to become more mindful of the products they consume. “My generation and the next ones are seeing sustainability and social impact as the new luxury,” he adds.
Delta is also rolling out biodegradable bamboo cutlery in domestic First Class and select international flights this year—reducing annual plastic used by up to four million pounds—as well as premium aluminum-canned wines from Imagery Estate Winery. Launching first on select flights and then eventually on all domestic routes, the two canned wine options (one red, one white) will help cut down up to 250,000 pounds of plastic use per year.