Heroes

With a $30 million investment, this gas-guzzling airline is betting big on biofuels.

Just like the planes they power, biofuels are taking off.

With a $30 million investment, this gas-guzzling airline is betting big on biofuels.

Last year, United Airlines purchased 3.9 billion gallons of fuel.

And it cost them nearly $12 billion (and you wonder why they charge you for a little more leg room).


And can I get another bag of pretzels while we're at it? Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

But starting this summer, select United flights will run on fuel made from animal fat and farm waste.

In 2013, United agreed to purchase 15 million gallons of fuel from AltAir, an alternative fuel, or biofuel, company.

AltAir's fuel, made from farm waste and natural oils, will power flights from Los Angeles to San Francisco in select test runs over the next three years.


Watch where you step, that could be your jet fuel. Photo by Micolo J/Flickr.

While this is the first time alternative fuel is being used to fly the friendly skies, the technology is nothing new.

Biofuel can be made using vegetable oils or cooking oils leftover from restaurants and is available at filling stations across the country.

But this is the first time commercial airlines have gotten in on the act in a major way.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

In June 2015, United announced a $30 million investment in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a California-based alternative fuel company.

This is a big deal for two reasons: One, this is the largest investment in alternative fuels by a U.S. airline, and two, unlike other biofuels, Fulcrum BioEnergy makes their product out of household garbage.

Yep, they make their fuel out of garbage. Gross, disgusting garbage.

Garbage is actually perfect for fuel because it contains large stores of carbon and hydrogen, which are the building blocks of jet fuel. Not to mention garbage is cheap and can be found literally everywhere.

As landfills rise, cities are scratching their heads to come up with a waste management solution. Fulcrum stepped in, making agreements with waste companies across North America.

Today, hot and smelly trash. Tomorrow, hot and smelly jet fuel. Photo by woodleywonderworks/Flickr.

About 4% of garbage landfilled annually in the U.S. winds up in Fulcrum's care.

The fuel they produce costs companies like United less than $1 a gallon — which is a great deal, considering the average cost for a gallon of non-biofuel fuel is around $2.11.


Fulcrum Bioenergy is chipping away at North American landfills. Photo by Bill McChesney/Flickr (altered).

And while news of the investment is exciting, the timing isn't that surprising, given the EPA's recent announcement about regulating aircraft emissions.

United may have seen the writing on the wall, but they're not alone.

Southwest, Alaska Airlines, and British Airways have also purchased biofuels or biofuel refineries.

Alternative fuels are a way for airlines to better their bottom line and help the planet.

Biofuels make it possible for companies to save money and cut emissions, which means it's really just a matter of common sense meets business sense.

Just like the planes they power, biofuels are ready to take off.

Bon Voyage, Big Oil. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

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Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

Acts of kindness and compassion are always inspiring. A veterinarian gave a different spin on the phrase "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

The poor little pup in this video walked into this shelter with a history of being abused. He was so traumatized that he wasn't eating. The vet treating him wasn't sure what to do, so he decided to book a table for two: a the dog's place. It is not clear whether he got an official invite from the canine in question, but he felt pretty safe about showing up unannounced. He walked into the cage and sat down next to the dog. With his back up against the corner of his new (and hopefully temporary) domain, the rescue stared apprehensively at his human guest. The vet presented a dog dish with food and put it in front of the dog. The frightened pup just looked at the dish and made no attempt to eat. Then he broke out another dog dish identical to the one he just gave to his four-legged patient and started eating out of that bowl. And then came the turning point.


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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

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Do you know that guy who has never had an issue with his TV/internet provider? Neither do I. If you claim you have never had issues with your bill going up without warning, then you are either lying or you own the cable company. Jake Lawson apparently does not own a cable company, and was prepared to communicate his frustrations regarding his bill in a most creative way.

First off, Jake understands what everyone should realize. The customer service representative doesn't own the cable company either, so yelling at someone who is just trying to make a living like all of us is not the answer. Their job is hard enough as it is so give them a break. Jake gave them more than a break. He gave them a song.


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