The travel industry marks Earth Day by cutting emissions, plastic — and prices

This Sunday is Earth Day, which has been celebrated annually since 1970. Hotels, airports, airlines, and other segments of the travel industry are joining in to draw attention to environmental movements worldwide.

Plastic is 'the last straw'

On Earth Day, 200 Delaware North-operated restaurants at 23 airports and highway travel hubs across the United States are kicking off a campaign to reduce plastic waste by offering drinking straws only by request. With "The Last Straw" campaign, the company hopes to significantly cut back on the estimated 8.1 million plastic drinking straws it handed out last year.

Carbon emissions are offset

On April 19, Delta Air Lines bought carbon offsets for an estimated 170,000 passengers who traveled into or out of airports including Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Raleigh, and all three New York-area airports. The airline's carbon offset program calculates the carbon emissions per customer and then invests in projects that provide social benefits and reduce emissions.

"We know that many of our customers are engaged in their own personal and corporate sustainability efforts and want to extend those efforts to travel," said Christine Boucher, Delta's managing director for Global Environment, Sustainability & Compliance, in a statement, "We're proud to help them do that through this program and projects that expand our global sustainability efforts."

Biofuels take flight

And on Earth Day Air Canada plans to save 160 tons of carbon on 22 domestic flights out of Toronto-Pearson International Airport by blending more than 60,000 gallons of sustainable biofuel into the airport's fuel supply system.

"Our participation is one way Air Canada is reducing its footprint and also helping our entire industry improve its environmental performance," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada.

Small change, big impact

This week, 450 Marriott-branded hotels began replacing individually wrapped soaps and 0.7 ounce plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner with shower-product dispenser systems.

The dispensers contain Paul Mitchell Tea Tree brand products and Marriott estimates that the average hotel will divert from landfills more than 23,000 tiny bottles, or 250 pounds of plastic, per year.

Earth matters

1Hotels, with properties in Manhattan and Brooklyn and in Miami's South Beach, is kicking off its 'Earth Day Every Day' campaign this weekend with a series of events and talks. Each property will also be creating lobby "action centers" designed to both educate guests about environmental issues and encourage them to take action by contacting federal, state, and local legislators.

Earth Day deals

Also, in honor of Earth Day and National Park Week (April 21-29), participating Travelodge Hotels are offering guests a "Celebrate Earth Day" rate of 25 percent off Best Available Rates for stays completed by April 30, 2018. Details here.

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