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Cleveland Waste Recycling

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The constant 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

Whether establishing a new program or refining a current one, airport management needs to consider several elements when evaluating recycling and waste practices.

1.     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.  These
      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.


2.     Evaluate current recycling hauler and recycling processor contracts.

Because the fluctuation of waste volumes and types may vary, a regular review of hauling and processing contracts can save airports money.  Consider the following when reviewing recycling contracts:


Sorting and preparation requirements. Some recyclers conduct sorting themselves, but it may
       be more cost efficient to have these sorted onsite.

Scheduling.  Ensure that the hauler is collecting recyclables at the most optimal time.  Collection
       that occurs too frequently may result in unnecessary expenses or less revenue from

Data collection.  Frequent analysis of the amount and type of materials sent for recycling may

       be conducted by the processor.

3.     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.

Other Considerations

Airports may face some special challenges, given the amount of people and types of activity.

Security – 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

Space – Ideally, recycling bins will replace many existing trash receptacles.  However, space
      can be limited next to boarding gates, concessionaries, and tenant retail spaces.  In
      addition, any bins
      stored outside may need to be protected from storm water and other debris contamination.

Time – Because of scheduling, time may become a factor when bins need to be collected or
      emptied.    Bins and compactors that are easily accessible reduce time and make collection
      easier on airport staff.

Aircraft Recycling

Though not 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.


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