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Trash Talk at United Airlines

United Airlines announces a new hire set to change the company for the better. The airline turned to the global expert in refuse management to lead the company’s strategy on sustainability. United Airlines has today named Sesame Street‘s Oscar the Grouch as its first Chief Trash Officer as he and the airline celebrate his love of rubbish. United Airlines’ new, consumer education campaign is designed to promote the expected benefit of using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) more broadly.

The new campaign follows the iconic character’s journey from job listing to c-suite office starring alongside real United employees.

More Sustainable Fuel

SAF is an alternative to conventional jet fuel that, on a lifecycle basis, reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with air travel compared to conventional jet fuel alone. SAF is being made from used cooking oil and agricultural waste, and, in the future, could be made from other feedstocks including household trash or forest waste. To date, United has invested in the future production of over three billion gallons of SAF – the most of any airline in the world.* 

Consumers Can Take Action

Consumers can take action too – in a first among U.S. airlines, United now shows an estimate of each flight’s carbon footprint on a per economy seat passenger basis on its app and website, and travellers have the option to contribute to supplement United’s investment in the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, a first-of-its-kind investment vehicle designed to support start-ups focused on decarbonizing air travel by accelerating the research, production and technologies associated with SAF.

“United has invested in more sustainable aviation fuel production than any airline in the world, by far,” said United Chief Communications Officer Josh Earnest. “Every airline burns jet fuel to run their business, but no airline will solve climate change on its own. So United has enlisted Oscar to help us educate the traveling public of all ages about SAF and rally them to the cause of fighting climate change. From banana peels to fryer grease, Oscar is uniquely qualified to help us explain why trash could be the treasure that fuels the jets of the future.”

Follow Oscar’s Journey

Starting today, people can follow Oscar’s journey as he stars in videos alongside real United employees. The integrated campaign includes interactive social-first elements, colourful spreads in Hemispheres® magazine and a unique film series, all of which were created to simplify a complicated topic in an approachable and entertaining way. Creative highlights include: a film series, digital and social campaign and Oscar in aviation settings to help us all “fly toward a lower carbon future” according to the airline.

Welcome Sesame Workshop

As a part of the collaboration, United Airlines is supporting Sesame Workshop by donating to the nonprofit educational organization’s Welcome Sesame initiative. Sesame Workshop will also be included in United Airlines’ Miles on a Mission, where travellers will be able to donate miles to help support its global mission to help children grow smarter stronger and kinder.

United will continue to bring this relationship to life for customers and for the communities the airline serves. For more visit united.com/ChiefTrashOfficer.

United’s Commitment to Net Zero Emissions by 2050

United aims to be 100% green by reducing its GHG emissions by 100% by 2050, without relying on traditional carbon offsets. In addition to the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, United has launched a SAF purchasing program called the Eco-Skies Alliance and established a venture fund – United Airlines Ventures – to identify and invest in companies and technologies that can decarbonize air travel. These strategic investments include carbon capture, hydrogen-electric engineselectric regional aircraft and air taxis.

Shane Cullen
Shane Cullen
Shane Cullen has been managing director of a media production studio for nearly 20 years working on projects for a global clientele. He has worked in the travel industry for over a decade and as a travel journalist since 2015. He is passionate about travel, film & photography. He also has a keen interest in emerging technology.

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