As part of our Eco-Skies® commitment, United looks for ways to reuse and recycle materials whenever we can. We're especially excited when we're able to "upcycle" materials, turning them into something creative and entirely new rather than throwing them away.
With the re-launch of our Fly the Friendly Skies campaign in fall 2013, we displayed more than 20 fabric banner advertisements in the Chicago O’Hare Airport. Each banner featured beautiful aerial photographs of United’s hub cities along with a "friendly" headline.
When we replaced the banners in early 2015 with new artwork, we partnered with Columbia College Chicago and Re:new – a nonprofit Chicago-area manufacturer that employs refugee women living in the U.S. – to extend the life of the fabric by turning it into durable, fashionable travel bags. Fashion Studies students from Columbia College participated in a competition to design a travel bag, in an appropriate size to fit under an airplane seat, that would be constructed primarily from the United banners. Each design showcased our Fly the Friendly Skies imagery and elements of the United brand on its exterior.
The winning designs were chosen by a committee of representatives from Re:new, the Chicago Department of Aviation and United. Artisans from Re:new then constructed the limited-edition bags.
All proceeds from the sale of these bags will benefit Re:new and our United Eco-Skies CarbonChoice project in the Alto Mayo region of Peru. Visit Re:new and Eco-Skies CarbonChoice to learn more or donate.