RECYCLING AT AIRPORTS
activity that takes place daily within airports creates a prime
opportunity to recover waste for recycling.
Maintenance, food service, and rest areas all generate a
variety of wastes, including organics, paper, tires, oil, metal,
batteries, cardboard, and beverage containers.
Efficient Recycling Programs
establishing a new program or refining a current one, airport
management needs to consider several elements when evaluating
recycling and waste practices.
Know the quantity and makeup of waste that is generated.
This information is key to ensuring the most cost effective and
beneficial recycling materials and logistics.
Consider conducting a walk through of your facility, which would
allow observation of staff and
travelers’ habits, as well as the effectiveness of
recycling bin placement.
Review records data on the cost of disposal, operations,
maintenance, and hauling.
practices may need refining, or there could be cost
savings in these areas.
Conduct a waste sort, in which staff separates and analyzes
waste from receptacles by hand.
This creates the most accurate, however time consuming,
picture of the amounts and types
of waste generated by travelers.
Evaluate current recycling hauler and recycling processor
Because the fluctuation of waste volumes and types may vary, a
regular review of hauling and processing contracts can save
Consider the following when reviewing recycling contracts:
Sorting and preparation requirements. Some
recyclers conduct sorting themselves, but it may
more cost efficient to have these sorted onsite.
Ensure that the hauler is collecting recyclables at the
most optimal time.
that occurs too frequently may result in unnecessary
expenses or less revenue from
Frequent analysis of the amount and type of materials
sent for recycling may
be conducted by the processor.
Strategically choose and place recycling bins.
Especially at international airports, clear labeling and
graphics help to prevent comingling and contamination.
Place recycling bins close to trash receptacles, but make
the bins distinct in design or color. Bins with specialized
openings for beverage containers may also help to prevent trash
from accidentally mixing with recycling materials.
face some special challenges, given the amount of people and
types of activity.
– Consider any special security requirements within airports.
This may involve adding
personnel to secure areas, regularly inspecting bins, or
tamper-proofing bins in non-secure
– Ideally, recycling bins will replace many existing trash
can be limited next to boarding gates, concessionaries,
and tenant retail spaces.
addition, any bins
stored outside may need to be protected from storm water
and other debris contamination.
– Because of scheduling, time may become a factor when bins need
to be collected or
Bins and compactors that are easily accessible reduce
time and make collection
easier on airport staff.
located centrally at one airport, Delta Airlines implemented
recycling aircraft waste.
Using a single stream collection system, airline
attendants collect recyclables in one bag and trash in another.
Both of these bags are labeled, identified, and unloaded
on the ground. Due to
these efforts, the airline diverted over
140 tons of waste within one six month period, and generated
revenue for charitable donations.