United Airlines names Oscar the Grouch as Chief Trash Officer

United Airlines taps into the experience of Oscar the Grouch to educate the flying public about SAF
United Airlines

United Airlines announced that Oscar the Grouch, a long-standing executive at Sesame Street, will take on the role of Chief Trash Officer at the United States (US)-based airline. 

Grouch was introduced as the new Chief Trash Officer (CTO) and will be a part of the company’s new education campaign focused on the benefits of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Citing “his love of rubbish”, United Airlines chose Grouch to educate customers in “original video, digital, social and out-of-home content that shows how garbage can help fuel the future of air travel,” according to the airline’s press release. 

“United has invested in more sustainable aviation fuel production than any airline in the world, by far,” said Josh Earnest, the Chief Communications Officer (CCO) of United Airlines. “Every airline burns jet fuel to run their business, but no airline will solve climate change on its own,” added Earnest.  

According to the CCO, Grouch will educate and rally the traveling public to use SAF to help fight climate change. “From banana peels to fryer grease, Oscar is uniquely qualified to help us explain why trash could be the treasure that fuels the jets of the future,” Earnest concluded.  

United Airlines launched content related to the campaign, overseen by Grouch, on March 2, 2023. 

“This campaign provided a special opportunity to showcase an iconic Sesame Street character, Oscar the Grouch, celebrating what he loves best – trash,” added Jennifer Ahearn, the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Themed Entertainment at Sesame Workshop. 

The campaign launch also aligned with the launch date of a new tool offered by the carrier, namely customers’ ability to view their carbon footprint “on a per economy seat passenger basis”. Passengers will now have “the option to contribute to supplement United’s investment in the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, a first-of-its-kind investment vehicle designed to support start-ups focused on decarbonizing air travel by accelerating the research, production, and technologies associated with SAF”. 

United Airlines, as well as several other partners, including Air Canada, Boeing, and GE Aerospace, launched the fund in February 2023. Its primary goal is to funnel investments into startups that work with SAF research, production, and technology. 

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