We’re the first U.S. airline to commit to reducing our individual greenhouse gas emissions – 50 percent by 2050. Let’s reflect on the steps that make us an industry leader while also looking to the future.
Working with Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium to reduce straw and plastic use
As part of the Shedd’s #SheddTheStraw campaign, we have replaced single-use plastic stirring sticks and cocktail picks with a sustainable bamboo alternative.Learn more
Donating old furniture to avoid adding to landfills
When we moved our Houston Corporate Support Center to a new location, we partnered with Green Standards to divert 800 tons of office furniture and equipment from landfills and donated them to 18 non-profits in Greater Houston.
We support our customers’ journey to the South Pole
Father and son team Robert and Barney Swan share their trek to the South Pole, powered by biofuel and renewable energy.
Operated the longest transatlantic biofuel flight
We became the first U.S. airline to publicly commit to reducing our greenhouse emissions – 50 percent by 2050, and celebrated by operating the longest transatlantic biofuel flight to date on September 14, 2018, from San Francisco to Zurich.
Last year, we recycled over 1.7 million pounds of plastic cups and aluminum cans from our flights – and 10 times more recyclables on the ground. You can help by keeping cans and cups separate when flight attendants collect the trash.
United partner Fulcrum BioEnergyannounces biofuel plant near Chicago
This plant will help reduce our carbon footprint, divert waste from landfills and create 160 full-time permanent jobs and 900 construction jobs at the Fulcrum facilities located in and around Chicago.
In 2016 we became the first airline to fly with sustainable alternative jet fuel on a continuous basis.
Since 2016 we’ve bought 3 million gallons of biofuel for flights from our Los Angeles hub. Going forward, we plan to buy nearly 1 billion gallons of biofuel to reduce our carbon footprint.
Investing in United Club sustainability
We are investing in making our facilities more energy efficient, including adding energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems in several United Club locations and airport terminals around the world.
We are the first carrier to receive Audubon International’s Green Hospitality Award for our club at Los Angeles. We’ve also received green business certification at our United Club locations in Denver, Los Angeles and San Diego.
We are the first U.S. airline to turn partially used amenity kits into donations instead of trash.
Through our partnership with Clean the World, a nonprofit organization that recycles and refurbishes partially used hygiene products, we helped create kits for those in need and will keep over 50,000 pounds of materials out of landfills each year.
We continue to innovate with one of the longest-running carbon offset programs
We partner with Sustainable Travel International (STI) offering customers the option to offset the carbon footprint associated with their air travel . Funds go toward supporting the development of conservation and renewable energy projects.
Investment in green buildings
We are investing in making our facilities more energy efficient, including adding energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems in several United Club℠ locations and airport terminals around the world.
Clean energy innovators
We support organizations that are dedicated to developing clean energy technologies for the aviation industry, such as our co-sponsorship of the Clean Energy Trust and co-hosting a workshop to connect biofuel producers and potential investors.
Our Raptor Relocation Program
We partnered with Audubon International and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to launch the Raptor Relocation Program at Newark Liberty International Airport, which moves raptors, a type of bird that nests near airports and as a result increases the potential for bird strikes to aircraft, to safer habitats. In this case, those safer habitats are golf courses that Audubon International has certified within their Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.
Our onboard products are sustainably sourced
In our amenity kits, we also feature products from Soho House & Co.'s Cowshed Spa, which are made from sustainable sources and natural botanicals.
Eco-Skies commitment to sustainability
United is committed to the environment and creating a more sustainable future. Join our Big Metal Bird host, Phil Torres, as he learns more about United's Eco-Skies program, visits materials recovery facility, talks biofuel and volunteers at Clean the World.
We upcycle our advertising materials to reduce landfill waste
In 2015 and again in 2017, we partenered with students at Columbia College Chicago's Fashion School on an upcycling travel bad challenge.
In 2016 we partnered with Relan, a company that shares our commitment to sustainability, to turn outdated marketing materials into fashionable travel accessories .
Continuous pursuit of fuel conservation measures
Through the ASPIRE initiative (Asia Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions), we worked with Air Traffic Control and ground crews to find ways to get aircraft to the runway, in the air and to the gate more efficiently, reducing emissions.
We partnered with FAA and NASA on demonstration flights to test technology that allows aircraft to land at normal rates despite visibility constraints, leading to fewer delays and a decrease in fuel usage.
We continue to enhance the performance of our fuel conservation programs by providing aircraft parked at the gate with more efficient air conditioning and electric power.
Over 3,400 pieces of our Ground Support Equipment (GSE) are powered by electricity rather than conventional fuel. At the end of 2017, 38 percent of United's eligible GSE fleet has been electrified.
We recently started printing Hemispheres on new paper that makes each magazine one ounce lighter. It may not sound like a lot, but that small change will save 170,000 gallons of fuel each year.
Updated and enhanced water conservation practices in drought-impacted regions
After becoming more mindful of our water use, we identified ways to improve our water consumption. As a result, we cut water usage at our San Francisco Maintenance Center by 25 percent compared to a 2013 baseline.
Animal conservation efforts
United has been a long-time partner of Conservation International and continues to support enforcement agencies in combating the illegal wildlife trade.
In October 2016, we hosted a NASA research team at Guam Airport to operate flights to study the upper atmosphere.
We helped facilitate the flights the NASA team conducted on a high altitude WB-57F aircraft with instruments that allowed them to make measurements in an important part of the atmosphere. The observations made by this team will improve predictions of future changes in climate and the ozone layer.
Guaranteeing our industry-leading emissions performance through our Global Performance Commitment
In 2017, we added a carbon footprint measurement to our Global Performance Commitment. We are committing to achieve the lowest gross carbon footprint of any U.S. network carrier, as measured by carbon dioxide-equivalent per available seat-mile.
Pioneering new aircraft designs
We have long been a pioneer in adopting new aircraft designs, including being one of the launch customers for the Boeing 787-10. We currently have over 200 new aircraft on order and invest over $2 billion per year in new aircraft. These investments have helped us improve our fuel efficiency by 47 percent since 1990.
We were the launch customer and are the largest customer of split scimitar winglets
By replacing the aluminum tip of the winglets on our planes with an aerodynamic winglet tip cap and adding a downward-facing winglet, we reduced fuel consumption by an additional 2 percent beyond most airlines' standard blended winglets. Today, 89 percent of United aircraft have winglets.
Our newest 787s
The newest member of our Dreamliner fleet, the Boeing 787-10 uses 20 percent less fuel than older generation airplanes,making it superior when it comes to fuel efficiency.
We're constantly working towards a cleaner world and geener skies. Visit Eco-Skies.