Introducing United's New Chief Trash Officer

We’re investing in a future where planes can be fueled by things like waste. So we hired an expert.


We’ve hired our first Chief Trash Officer, Oscar the Grouch.

Oscar The Grouch - business card

At United, we believe the future of flight is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which could be made from things like banana peels, leftover cooking oil, woody biomass and, yep, trash.

Oscar The Grouch - business card

Oscar’s first day on the job

Oscar learns how trash could fly

What’s so great about SAF?

SAF is an alternative to normal jet fuel that can help fly a plane with reduced lifecycle emissions. In fact, SAF is the fastest and most effective way we're reducing lifecycle emissions across United’s fleet! Investing in and using more SAF across the entire airline industry will help fly us all toward a lower carbon future.

Fruit Flies

Take a look at how Oscar’s prized banana peel could help fly a plane one day.

  1. Fruit goes into trash

  2. Trash goes to the lab

  3. Lab puts trash through machine

  4. Machine produces fuel

  5. Fuel made of fruit (+ other stinky stuff) helps fly a plane

How you can get on board with SAF

You have the opportunity to contribute to the development and future production of SAF. Our new Sustainable Flight Fund was created to support start-ups focused on decarbonizing air travel by accelerating the research, technology and production of SAF. Now when you book a ticket on or the United app, you’ll have the option to supplement United’s contribution to further support these start-ups with the goal of increasing the demand for and supply of SAF.

Ready to get your hands dirty? Learn more here.

Sound like a bunch of old bologna?

Well, it’s not! In fact, not to spoil the next section, but United has invested in more SAF production than any other airline.

And we’ve got the receipts. Check out a few of them below and see our full sustainability story here.

Order #0001

Date 2016


In 2016, United became the first airline to use SAF in regular operations. Since then, a little bit of waste has been helping fly a plane every day.

Order #0003

Date 2020


In December 2020, United was the first airline to announce a net-zero goal commitment by 2050 without traditional carbon offsets.

Order #0004

Date 2021


In April 2021, United created the Eco-Skies Alliance, a corporate SAF purchasing program with nearly 30 participants. That’s a lot of potential future SAF!

Order #0010

Date 2022


As of the end of 2022, United has invested in more sustainable aviation fuel than any other airline, leading the way toward a more sustainable future.

For more information about our environmental impact, go to United’s Corporate Responsibility Report and Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Using SAF with conventional fuel results in lower carbon emission on a life cycle basis than using only conventional fuel. SAF is less than 0.1% of United's overall fuel use. Based on publicly announced airline offtake agreements for future purchases of SAF.