By Cailey Rizzo
April 22, 2019
Trudie Ottolini/Getty Images

In honor of Earth Day, Delta Air Lines is offsetting the carbon impact of more than 300,000 passengers’ flights.

The airline announced Monday that it would offset the carbon emissions of passengers flying on domestic routes out of New York, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, Raleigh-Durham and Atlanta on Earth Day.

Passengers who board Delta flights out of these hubs will receive paper cutouts made from seeds. When they debark, passengers can plant these pieces of paper in the ground and noninvasive wildflowers will grow in their place. Included on the slip of paper is information about Delta’s Earth Day project and additional information about how passengers can figure out the carbon impact of their own flight using Delta’s Carbon Calculator.

For example, a round-trip flight from New York City to Atlanta will produce about 0.3 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which can be offset for less than $5. Passengers can then donate to The Nature Conservancy and offset their carbon emissions. A donation of $15 will offset one metric ton of carbon (the equivalent of about 9,000 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle).

Carbon offsets are projects that, self-evidently, work to minimize or negate the impact of carbon dioxide emissions. The projects include building of renewable energy infrastructures and the capturing of methane. Delta’s purchase today benefits Conservation Coast, a project which “provides environmental protection and sustainable economic opportunities for communities in Guatemala,” the airline said.

Delta’s Earth Day purchase will offset the emissions of about 10,000 cars driven over the course of one year.

“Delta led the U.S. aviation industry by launching the first carbon offset program in 2007, making it easy for customers to reduce the environmental impact of their travel,” John Laughter, the airline’s senior vice president of corporate safety, security and compliance, said in a statement. “Delta is also the only major airline to voluntarily cap carbon emissions at 2012 levels by purchasing carbon offsets.”

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