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Southwest Airlines - Leadership Management

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Southwest Airlines has worked hard at building a great loving brand and its clearly translated in every detail of the company all the way down to the long-time symbol of LUV, the heart-shaped non-biodegradable plastic stick stir. Southwest initiative to use this as a marketing tool was an excellent idea, but the well-loved symbol is harming our environment.  


Plastic is not eco-friendly and harmful to the environment and human health. According to Scientific American, "Chemicals added to plastics are absorbed by human bodies. Some of these compounds have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects. (Knoblach, 2009)" In addition, "Plastic debris, laced with chemicals and often ingested by marine animals, can injure or poison wildlife." (Knoblach, 2009) Scientist have also discovered plastic never goes away, it is made to last forever. It only breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.

Southwest Airlines serves more than 100 million customers annually with at least 50% using a non-biodegradable plastic stick stir. (, 2015) In March 2016, Southwest Airlines signed a contract with Community Coffee to improve customer excellence. (, 2015) This will potentially increase more use of the non-biodegradable plastic stick stir, creating tons of harmful trash being dumped in our landfills. The toxic chemicals from plastic drain out and seep into groundwater and run into rivers and lakes. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other illnesses. (Knoblach, 2009)

Southwest Airlines commitment to environmental improvements has led to being awarded the Chicago Department of Aviation's 2015 Airports Going Green Award for Airlines, ranked among the top four most fuel-efficient airlines on U.S. domestic operation for the fourth straight year by the International Council on Clean Transportation, implementing the Environmental Management System, developing a Regulatory Compliance, and the strong emphasis on reusing and recycling. (, 2015)  With all the initiative Southwest Airlines has taken on to improve the environment, they have failed and overlooked changing the non-biodegradable plastic stick stirs.

This is something that must change because we are all suffering from non-biodegradable plastic.

References (2016, March 01). Retrieved from

Knoblach, J. (2009, July 2). Plastice Not-So-Fanstastic:How the Versatile Material Harm the Environment and Human Health. Retrieved from



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